By Al Anood Al Wahaibi
With many countries limiting and restricting travel, a growing number of travel lovers, including those in the Gulf region, have turned to exploring their own countries this summer. If you’re one such local tourist, we’ve compiled a list of 7 regional tour operators and initiatives that offer unconventional and unforgettable experiences in the Gulf for you, which will allow you to see it in a way you have not seen it in before.
Founded by Kuwaiti Ali Husain in 2013 to get people to appreciate the natural beauty of the Arabian Peninsula, Husaak Adventures operates in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, and is designed to give people raw experiences, whether its by hiking and swimming through the sand colored canyons of Saudi Arabia’s Al Ula or mountain biking in Oman’s picturesque Bandar Khayran, through which they are challenged both physically and mentally. “We’re not a tourism company, but more of a human development [one],” states Ali.
Husaak Adventures, which has served more than 11,000 adventure lovers so far and aims to be the number one adventure provider in the region, also offers desert exploration opportunities in Abu Dhabi. They have also previously arranged trips to Mongolia and Alaska.
Husaak Adventures website: https://www.husaak.com
SIRU Adventure Club
One of the things Saudi Arabia is known for is its diverse topography, which ranges from its mighty mountains to its colorful coral reefs. SIRU Club, founded in 2018 by Abdulaziz Alnemer, and based in Saudi Arabia, specializes in offering mountains walks and trips both in and outside of Saudi Arabia, including the Red Mountain in Saudi’s east coast and the Caucaus Moutains, respectively. SIRU Club also organizes overnight camping trips in the kingdom’s Jouda Path , which is located on the way from Dammam to Riyadh, an area which is known for its spectacular star studded night sky. Adventurers will be guided into the night by an astronomer after a day spent hiking the rocky mountain tops.
Siru Club website: https://siruclub.com
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Many of the tour operators tend to offer adventures that are mixed gender, while some women prefer to go on female-only trips. Nuzha, established in 2019 by Omanis Sara Al Naamani and Al Azza Al Hooti, is a tour company based in Oman that is dedicated to organizing female-only trips to unique tourist destinations in Oman. According to the co-founder Sara, Nuzha aims to create passionate and memorable experiences for women that take them back to the captivating nature of Oman. Nuzha offers a variety of services, from hiking at popular tourist attractions such as Wakan Village, which witnesses the blossoming of its apricot trees in the spring, to hiking in the scenic Sidab hike trail located in a fishing village in old Muscat.
Nuzha website: https://nuzha.om
Established in 2016, Rove Adventures is a tour company in Oman that is run by locals that specializes in offering adventures in various spots locations across the country. It offers a variety of unique experiences from adventures in Oman’s natural water park, Snake Canyon, to wadis like Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi. Ensuring safety measures are taken, Rove adventures offer hiking, mountaineering, abseiling, caving, climbing and sea activities. Some Rove tours are even exclusive to women.
Rove Adventures do not only offer adventurous experiences, but also engage with the locals, and provide opportunities to the locals in the regions they venture to by encouraging them to offer tourism services, for which they are paid as well.
Rove Adventures website: https://rove.om
Mtskعon offers activities in locations in the UAE such as Hatta. Images: By Humaid Al Hajri, courtesy of Mtskعon.
Mtskعon, based in the United Arab Emirates and founded by a group of Emirati youth, offers multi-experience activities, such as art and social experiences, with the aim of promoting the UAE’s tourism and culture. Mtskعon does not only offer outdoor activities such as hiking and water activities in the breathtaking Hatta and Khorfakkan, but also art workshops and activities in Sharjah’s newly opened library House of Wisdom, and snow adventures in Ski Dubai. “Mtskعon combines everything that is important to our youth in this country to grow on a personal level while promoting sustainability, health, and education under one umbrella”, says the team.
Mtskعon Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/mtsk3on
Founded by a Kuwaiti travel influencer and content creator Fatima Al Mattar, in August 2019, is Hello Explorer. Traveling for Fatima was a big inspiration before the COVID-19 Crisis hit, and she found herself eager to experience activities and adventures in different countries making her want to extend the same experience to the world through Hello Explorer. But when the pandemic hit, Hello Explorer turned its operational focus to exploring Kuwait and offering local experiences and activities in the country. The company offers a variety of experiences in Kuwait including crabbing in the Gulf’s waters, sound therapy, flower arrangement and taking yoga classes in the iconic Kuwait Towers with the view of the water.
Hello Explorer website: https://www.helloexplorer.com
Founded by Al Amjad Al Maawali , with the co-founder Omaima Al Hinai, and established in 2018 as a part of a National Youth Program in Oman that aims to support youth in starting their own initiatives, is Teepee Oman. Teepee is specialized in creating luxurious customized camping experiences in Oman’s scenic natural sites, such as Jabal Shams and Jabal Akdhar. Along with fully furnished tents, the team can set up with an outdoor cinema, game station, meals, in addition to yoga, horse riding, pottery making and mountain climbing experiences, taking the camping experience to a whole new level.
Teepee Oman Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/teepee_om/?hl=en
Al Anood Al Wahaibi from Oman is a rising senior at Northwestern University in Qatar pursuing a Journalism and Strategic Communication degree. Her interest in topics when it comes to writing revolves around featuring women’s achievements, but she aims to explore different topics including arts and culture. She is currently an intern at Sekka .
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