Foreign Driver Rating: !! not too bad

Oman is really a driving paradise. The condition of the roads is generally excellent. If you enjoy driving off-road, Oman has some famous off-road driving trails, mostly in the mountains. One can also take a trip through the desert and do some sand driving. Oman is a fairly rich country, so there are very few third-world vehicles on the road, or unsigned road obstructions.

That said, Oman was fairly developed before the automobile arrived. That’s good if you like touring forts and picturesque villages; but there are lots of pre-car roads; trying to wind through some of the villages without falling into an irrigation ditch is a real challenge. There are also quite a few roads that are dirt, although usually they are well-maintained. (And Google Maps will sometimes send you on those roads.)

Oman has dealt with its uncontrolled sprawl near major cities in a very odd way. In many cases, shops have sprung up alongside roads, which have subsequently been turned into quasi-expressways, where to take a left turn you have to go over a flyover and start going back the other way. Don’t worry, Google Maps generally has it figured out.

You might also want a 4 wheel drive, both for any sand driving and because in some of the mountainous areas a four-wheel-drive is required by law (even on paved roads).

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Oman: a driving paradise, although you may want a 4 wheel drive. Photo by the author.