It's a gorge, but a very deep one. The view from the top is... well, breathtaking. You need a four-wheel drive to get to up there, which is at the base of Jebel shams (3000 m), the country's highest mountain. Keep an eye on the dirt track for there is nothing to stop you going over the edge.
Nizwa is an ancient town once protected by an old desert fort. Even today the old souq (market) is still the centre of trade and traditional goods are changing hands as they did a century ago. It even becomes better on Fridays when it's goat auction day. From early morning, Bedouins come in to buy and sell. In an open arena goats are dragged around by their owner in front the observing audience. A potential buyer calls over the goat, squeezes its testicles and decides whether to buy it or not. Besides the goats and the occasional camel, the other attractions are the colourful Bedouin women who attend the market. Some have their face covered by a finely decorated cloth mask, half as an out-of-this-world fashion statement and half as protection from the strong sun. They sure will make an impression.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, or in Persian Qabus Azam Mosque, is a new mosque built by, well, Sultan Qaboos (the sultan of Oman) in 1995. It is an impressive piece of modern Arabic architecture with many fine details. Take for example the Persian rug inside. It measures 60 x 70 metres, making it the world's second largest carpet (it was the largest when it was made). Non-Muslims are welcome (at certain hours), but can only walk on the blue "non-Muslim" carpet.
Muscat is the only real city in Oman. It is accountable for a third of the country's population, but even 1 million people doesn't feel that big when it's spread out as Muscat is. Rather than one dense city, Muscat is made out of connecting towns, each with its own vibe. The walled old town of Muscat is where the Sultan's palace is. Mutrah is the picturesque area along the waterfront where you also find the covered market, the so-called souq. The corniche is particularly nice with great views over the harbour and on a backdrop of craggy mountains. Further inland you find the buzzing neighbourhood of Ruwi which is Muscat's "Little India". For a modern feel (read Starbucks and similar cafes), head to the area along the coast at Shatti al-Qurm. Muscat is a fine mix of new and old, without being as rich in history as Sanaa in Yemen nor as sparkling as the other oil-money-spoiled capitals in the region.
This beach and protected area is a nesting ground for the Green turtle. It's possible to witness the egg laying from close distance and later see other nests hatch, where over a hundred small turtles race to the ocean. It's close to impossible to get there without a car - as elsewhere in Oman. The peak season is March to September.
For a bit of a reality check, take a self-guided tour at the Sultan Qaboos university. It is a closed off property, so if stopped by security guards just say that you are considering studying/teaching here. Here you will realise that students in Oman are not much different from elsewhere in the world, some are fast-walking nerds while others hang out lazily in the sun... and then again. Though it is an unisex university (half of the students are females) there are special walkways for female students only, just so things don't get too crazy.
There is not much Costa-del-Sol-like beaches in Oman, but that is probably also why you want to come here - to see something different. Part of Oman's coastline consists of jagged pinkish mountains breaking off at the sea with long almost-deserted beaches below, and Yiti beach is just one of these. Here, the sandy inlet extends out to the nearby rocks at low tide, attracting not only wading waterbirds, but also local families who jump from dry spot to dry spot in their burkas and thawbs (the traditional white dress for men).