Sun and Sand Tours Reviews
Sun and Sand Tours Feb 23, 2010
Sun and Sand Tours was the guide service we hired for our hiking treks and I hope to offer a forceful recommendation regardless of your goals for exploring this delightful destination. I contacted a bunch of operators via e-mail in my search for an appropriate guide and the responses I received from Naseeb Habib Al-Raisi struck a chord: I felt very comfortable as we negotiated a customized trekking tour. Despite my assumption that Naseeb would not be personally leading us, the vibe was positive and I was confident it would carry over to his associates.
We were delightfully surprised when Naseeb showed up in person to escort for the two days. The bad news is that one of the hikes, Snake Gorge, is nobody’s favorite and so Naseeb reluctantly took on the chore. From the moment we met, Naseeb was gracious and proved tireless answering our numerous questions. Naseeb often went the extra yard and extended our conversation into new realms with his responses.
Naseeb personifies the collaborative nature of Oman, where everyone works together. It was quite obvious he had intimate connections to the locals wherever we ventured, and these sincere relationships yielded amazing benefits. The singular highlight of our trip was when Saif (the son of the guy Naseeb had hoped would lead us along the one hike) invited into his majlis for dates and coffee. You won’t get this kind of access by hopping about on your own and that is one of the merits of securing a guide.
The runner up highlight was when my buddy John asked Naseeb if it was considered offensive to sport Omani attire when visiting. Though all of our travel guides warned this was taboo, Naseeb rejected the notion, donated one of his mussars to John and taught him how to tie it on. We would all wind up purchasing mussars and wearing them, delighted by the ‘thumbs up’ received from locals. Naseeb went well beyond his contracted services and ushered us into a dimension of experiencing the Omani culture we wouldn't have thought was possible.
That said, my recommendation wouldn’t be complete without emphasizing that Sun and Sand Tours does not focus on rugged outdoor adventures. Naseeb was more comfortable educating us during our tour of Nakhl Fort than leading us on absurd treks like Snake Canyon. Wherever we went he seemed to know someone and what really reinforced this to me was when we shared the story about purchasing daggers from John Belushi’s cousin at the Muttrah Souk. Naseeb tilted his head for a moment and asked “you bought your khanjars from Akbar?”. Of course this was our merchant’s first name!
Whatever you wish to investigate in the fascinating country of Oman, Sun and Sand Tours is able to assemble a tour that will exceed your expectations and provide a deeper experience than you could ever hope to put together on your own. Highly recommended.
Part of the Oman? Oh, Man! travel blog
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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