Details on our Oman trip

Christoph Hilgers

Our Oman trip for our MSc students, the provisional agenda and other details are given below. Please also refer to the German Federal Foreign Office / Auswärtiges Amt Reise- und Sicherheitshinweise External Link for further information.


Movies from our Oman field trip

Please find here our 2022 Field trip movie!  Sat 8.10 - Mon 17.10.2023

Please find here our 2018 Field Trip movie! Sat 29/9 until Wedn 10/10 2018

Entry and Transport

Arrival latest 29/9, Muscat Airport, Sultanate of Oman, arrival and departure arranged and costs covered independently by field trip members.

Please note that you need to purchase an e-visa before your departure from Germany. A purchase upon arrvial in Muscat is said t obe possible only in emergency cases. Please refer to  the German Federal Foreign Office for updated news External Link.

Transport is with 4WDs with one local driver. A supply pick up will carry food, water and camping facilities. Eventually ago field trip member may drive a 4WD.



First and last night overnight in hotel, Seeb, other nights in tents outdoor. Tents and other facilities will be provided, please bring your sleeping back since it may get cold at night in the mountains and in the desert. Consider that generally we will be away from civilization and have no electricity on the way.



Together we want to explore the local geology from the earth's Moho, metamorphic rocks to the sedimentary cover. We will study in-situ depositions and the corresponding later rocks. Oman is known as the geologists paradise due to its wealth of geological processes and the lack of vegetation.



our initially planned program is as follows, but will lilkely be rescheduled during the trip due to some flat tyres and other unpredictable incidents:

  • D1 Sun: 30/9 departure with 4WDs, great mosque, towards Sohar
  • D1 Sun: Semail ophiolithe, Pillow-lava and ore deposits along MOR, Zuha Gossan
  • D1 Sun: Sheeted dykes, Wadi Simayh
  • D1 Sun: Pillow basalts, Wadi al Jizzi
  • D1 Sun: Boudinage and mullions contact Semail to Hawasina, Wadi al Dil
  • D2 Mon: Crust-mantle contact / Moho and ore deposits, Wadi Abiyad
  • D2 Mon: Nakhl Fort and oasis, Hawasina and ophiolithe nappes, Wadi Hedeck (tbc)
  • D2 Mon: Snowball earth, slate, Wadi Mistal (tbc)
  • D2 Mon: Unconformity, Wadi Bani Kharus
  • D2 Mon: Snowball earth, Wadi Haslan
  • D3 Tue: Crossing alpine Jabal Akdhar mountains via Wadi Bani Awf
  • D3 Tue: Carbonate rocks around Jebel Shams, View into Wadi Nakhar
  • D4 Wedn: Turbidites near the beehivee tombs and Jebel Misht near Al Ayn
  • D4 Wedn: Faults and sealing in carbonates Wadi Nakhar via Al Hamra (Coleman's rock) and Wadi Ghul oasis
  • D5 Thu: Diagenesis of peridotites, Barzman
  • D5 Thu: Oil fields and salt dome Qarat Kibrit
  • D6 Fri: Rocks around Wadi Bani Khalid
  • D7 Sat: Crossing  Wahiba Sands deserts, dunes, eolianites, from Bidiyah to the Indian ocean
  • D8 Sun: recent salt lakes near Misfirah island
  • D8 Sun: Radiolarite and Mn ores near Ras al Hadd
  • D8 Sun: Turtle reserve Sur, Ras al Jinz
  • D9 Mon: Sheath folds, eclogites Wadi al Mayh and As Sifah
  • D9 Mon: Eocene- triassic ophiolithe unconformity, Wadi Kabir
  • D10 Tue: recent carbonate reef (tbc)
  • D10 Tue: Groundwater salination of oases
  • D10 Tue 9/10/: Muttrah suq
  • and many more

the final program was as follows:

  • D0 Sat: overnight in hotel in Seeb
  • D1 Sun - ocean floor: MOR and associated ore deposits; mullions and folds; Wadi Chris; set up camp near Murri anticline
  • D2 Mon - alpine deformation: climb Murri anticline carbonates totop according to fitness with 2 early return groups, starting early daylight; visit Nakhl fort / Nakhl hot spring; set up camp Wadi Abiyad
  • D3 Tue - across stratigraphy: crustal and mantle rocks; unconformity; snowball earth; pencil cleavage; cross Jabal Akdhar mountain, set up camp near top of Jabal Akdhar 
  • D4 Wedn - carbonate system & deformation: Al Hamra coleman's rock; stoneage carvings; inside Wadi Nakhar: faults and veins, boudinage, pinch and swell; set up camp top of  Jabal shams
  • D5 Thu - slope-deep sea transition: view into Wadi Nakhar; Bhala fort; Behivee tombs: turbidites, Jabal Misht; set up camp Kibrit salt dome
  • D6 Fri - alluvial fan system: salt diapirism, rim syncline, carbonate stringer, petroleum systems, alluvial fans; windkanter, lake deposits; star dune; sabkha sedimentary system and trenches; set up camp near Indian Ocean
  • D7 Sat - eolian system: cross Whahiba sands desert, eolian sedimentary system and trenches, set up camp in desert near Bidiyah
  • D8 Sun - deep sea system & Batina nappe: dow workshop in Sur; cimberlite; radiolarites; set up camp near Sur (next time near radiolarites)
  • D9 Mon - metamorphism: mega-sheath folds, sheared clasts, porphyroblasts; eclogite; set up camp near  A'Sifah
  • D10 Tue - Tertiary cover: sediments, structures and view over Muscat; snorkeling reef & turtles; Sultan Quaboos mosque; visit GUtech university; overnight in hotel in Seeb


Safety, health

Oman is considered a very safe country, crime rate being very low.

Please ensure that you have your vaccination up to date, your health insurance covering possible expenses.

Please ensure that you have an insurance bringing you back to Germany in case of health issues. Check for example with ADAC Rückholversicherung, DRF membership or others.

Wadis may be wide and flooded quickly, even if it didn't rain. Such flash floods are a result of rain in the mountains, the water expelled through the wadis to the ocean.

Don't hike alone, have enough food and water and leave your route with somebody in case of emergency. Note that some regions are not covered with GSM / mobile phone.

Always have enough bottled drinking water with you.

Detailed information is provided by the German Federal Foreign Office / Auswärtiges Amt Reise- und Sicherheitshinweise External Link

incidents 2018 - the trip went fine and nothing unexpected happened:

  • three torn tyres, one car temporarily broken, 2hrs all digging our big truck out of the sand
  • we've seen scorpions, snakes and m-sized turtles
  • some dirrhoea, everyone realized quickly that sun protection and some liters of drinking waters per day are essential to feel well


Climate and nature

Temperatures are expected  30°C+ during the days. Take precautions of sun burn and heat stroke.

Driving is offroad and thus may be a bit "shaky".

We will be at sea level at the Gulf of Arabia and the Indian Ocean, and drive up to app 2000m.

Please note that flora and fauna are different. Plants may be poisonous. Poisonous snakes as well as scorpions are well known. Take special care at dawn and night.



Food will be provided during the trip, but not on the arrival and departure day.

If any provisions and special dietary requirements are needed, please let us know at least two weeks in advance.

Indian food is widely distributed throughout the country, and can frequently found close to petrol stations. Food may be spicy.



For students the trip is subsidized. Students should expect to cover flight costs (appr. 500-600€) and local costs (appr. 600-700€).


Cultural respect

Please respect the local cultural values. Short trousers, uncovered knees and shoulders show disrespect. Neither take pictures from people without their agreement, nor from local security facilities.

Don't touch or take away rocks from archeological sites, and don't take rocks of fossils from the exposures out of the country.

Do not pollute the water, especially not the the water of the Falaj system, which is the local drinking and irrigation water.

Do not take vegetables or fruits from the oases, and don't walk away from paths in oases.

Take your litter home.


How to join

Students interested to join are requested to put their name and contact details on a list at our secretary. Seats are limited, since we aim to keep costs low by having all seats taken in each 4WD.

In April the final list will be announced latest. Within a given deadline students are then requested to provide the flight booking confirmation and to make the payment for local costs.



You are requested to take notes and pictures, since it is unlikely that you will visit these places a second time. Together we want to make a movie from teams filming different scenes.



Logistics are provided by Golden Highlands External Link, an experienced Omani owned business guiding international geology field trips to Oman.



You shall bring

  • stirdy high mountain boots, since the terrain is alpine
  • day backpack - for your personal belongings and water
  • geological KIT-field book, pencil, rubber, ISO Staedler Fineliner or similar
  • shirt with long sleeves, long trousers - as protection against sun burn
  • other clothing
  • sun creme
  • bath robe
  • towel etc.
  • personal hygiene
  • travel bag*
  • other stuff

Omani Rial can be changed in Germany when ordering from your local bank, they are usually not available at your bank immediately. In Oman, you may get cash from your credit card, less commonly with your Maestro/Cirrus card at ATMs in Muscat. Please ensure that your Maestro/Cirrus will be accepted by local Omani banks. Banks in Oman are HBSC Oman, Oman Arab Bank, among others

*since we don't hike for several days, please don't bring a rucksack but a travel bag. A bag is easier to pack daily in our 4WD, a rucksack is inhandy.



The trip will be supervised by Christoph Hilgers and Agnes Kontny. Eventually, additional preofessionals will join us.


Personal Note

Having lived in the country with my family for a while, it really is a pleasing country with stunning scenery and very polite people. During that time and frequent trip to the mountains and desert, we just had one scorpion in our house and I heard a snakes hiss in a wadi at night once. In our home we had one gecko as guest, who took care of insects.

Oman is called the geologist's paradise, which is well reflected by many trip of hobby geologists and professionals to the region.

At night you will see the milky way and more stars than ever. However, an old French desert geologist and good friend of mine told me to always sleep in a tent at night, since we are unaware of pestering insects while you sleep.