Muscat

Scuba-Diving

Oman is one of the most popular diving destinations in the region. It has an exceptionally diverse marine life and a number of marine cliffs, small islands, bays and caves, as well as a diverse and unique marine life and coral reefs. The best months for diving in Oman are the period from April to July, but diving can be enjoyed at all times.

The most prominent diving areas around the capital Muscat are: Al Khayran, Al Fahil Island, Dimaniyat Islands, Al Makbara Bay (Old Muscat), in addition to Al Jissah Beach. Each of the above mentioned locations contains not less than 11 different diving sites, each with a diverse environment.

Featured Destinations for Diving

Al Fahal Island , Bandar Khayran Reserve , Al-Dimaniyat Islands Nature Reserve , Al-Dimaniyat Islands Nature Reserve , Dhofar Beaches , Dhofar Beaches , Duqm Beach , Plage d'Ad Duqm , Al-Halaneyat Islands , Lion’s Jaws Gate

Cruises

Cruises in Oman are an inseparable part of its history. Oman is surrounded by the sea and Omanis are famous for their love of their azure waters. Some villages in Oman, like Kumzar village in the far north, can only be reached by boat.

Cruises abound from many beaches and cities, and there are specialised centres such as: Marina Bandar Al Rawda in Muscat Governorate. Many tour operators organise a variety of activities, whether it is watching dolphins or sailing. These tours are not limited to the capital Muscat, as both Musandam and the city of Sur in A'Sharqiyah South Governorate (Eastern Region) are famous for their marine trips. There is barely a beach in Oman that does not organise such trips.

Featured Destinations for Boating:

Al Fahal Island , Al Khayran , Bandar Khayran Reserve , Barr Al Hikman (Al Hikman Peninsula) , Dhofar Beaches , Dhofar Beaches , Duqm Beach , Plage d'Ad Duqm , Kumzar Village , Lion’s Jaws Gate

 

Mountain Climbing

Omani mountains with their towering heights, rocky and steep slopes and rugged tracks constitute a challenge for any mountaineer. In Oman, there are several climbing areas and their diversity corresponds to the climber’s skill, as there are the paved paths for beginners and the very rugged for the more experienced climber.

Wadi Ghool in A'Sharqiyah South Governorate which rises to 300 metres provides an ideal spot for climbing.

Jabal Misht remains the best location for mountain climbing with its rocky front, perhaps the largest in the Arabian Peninsula. Its South-East front extends for approximately 6 kilometres, rising up to 850 metres, providing trails of all levels of difficulty. Musandam Governorate is famous for its many mountains. Also spread around Muscat are hills of various heights for climbing, whether for the beginner or the seasoned professional.

Featured Destinations for Climbing:

Al Jabal Al Akhdhar Sanctuary for Natural Sceneries,  Al Jabal Al Akhdar(Green Mountain),  Samhan Mountain , Jabal Shams (Sun Mountain) , Majlis Al Jinn Cave (Salma Plateau) , Khawr Najd , Wadi Damm

Via Ferrata

From the Italian, literally meaning ‘Iron Way’ via ferrata are mountain routes with fixed wire cables, metal rungs, and ladders. These allow adventurous walkers and climbers to ascend steep rock faces in relative safety while reducing the amount of climbing equipment required.

Via ferrata were originally developed in the Italian Alps during the first word war to assist troop movement in difficult mountain terrain. Nowadays climbing via ferrata routes as combination of trekking and climbing activities has become a popular adventure sport.

The Ministry of Tourism has sponsored the installation of several via ferrata routes in Oman.Via ferrata users should always be equipped with a helmet, appropriate shoes, climbing harness, and a special tether used for attaching the climber onto the cable to protect against falling. For some routes additional equipment is needed. Gloves are also useful; and in Oman, water, sunscreen and a first aid kit should also be considered as essential items.

If used correctly via ferrata climbing can be an exhilarating experience. As with any adventure activity the sport has an element of risk of personal injury. Via ferrata users climb under their own judgment and at their own risk.

Those trying the sport for the first time should always start under the supervision of a professionally trained guide. Check with local adventure tour operators for availability.For experienced via ferrata climbers it is best to go with someone who knows the way and to check on the status of the route before setting off.

There are three via ferrata in Oman. Presently the Grand Canyon via Ferrata (VF1) near Jabal Shams is operational.

Grand Canyon (VF1)
Starting along trekking path W6 at the village of Al Khitaym a high level balcony walk to the abandoned village of Sab Bani Khamis takes around on hour and has stunning views of the Grand Canyon. After Sab, an uphill walk leads to the start of the climb. The lower part is a medium to difficult  80m vertical ascent. Following a short walking traverse, the easier upper climb leads out of the canyon via a wadi. The climb itself takes around 1 hour.

Snake Canyon (VF2)
Snake Canyon is located near Balad Sayt in Wadi Bani Awf. This via ferrata route offers an exciting series of traverses and zip line crossings’ 100m above the canyon floor. The climb takes around 4 hours.

Bandar Khayran (VF3)
Located on the Western Island at Bandar Khayran this via ferrata is accessed by sea from the mainland. A short walk across the island leads to great coastal views and the start of the via ferrata. This features around a 2 hour cliff traverse, 40 m above the sea.

Featured Destinations for via ferrata:

Al Khayran , Bandar Khayran Reserve , Grand Canyon , Jabal Shams (Sun Mountain) , Snake Canyon , Wadi Bani Awf (Suspended Road

Trekking

Hiking/Trekking season runs from September to May, but the best time for hiking is between October and April. Despite the rough terrain, hiking remains the best way to enjoy the Sultanate’s wonderful mountainous nature.

You can make different excursions of varying degrees of difficulty: from wandering around Muttrah, to walking over the groove edges of Al Shams mountain- Oman's highest mountain - to reach its peak.

There are plenty of tour operators in the capital and other areas who provide comprehensive tours.

Featured Destinations for Trekking

Bandar Khayran Reserve , Grand Canyon , Jabal Hareem Fossils , Samhan Mountain , Jabal Shams (Sun Mountain) , Majlis Al Jinn Cave (Salma Plateau) , Nizwa City , Old Muscat , Snake Canyon

 

Desert Activities

Deserts differ in their nature and quality of sands, varying from the very soft to the very coarse and dense. This factor constitutes a challenge with regard to desert activities. One of these is called The Badiya Challenge Race. It is given this name due to the extremely soft sand that sinks under your feet as you cross it. The race involves climbing sand dunes from a low area to the top in the shortest possible time, filling participants with a thrilling excitement. Usually these dune races are accompanied by a number of popular and traditional events.

Just as each natural environment has its own beauty and charm, so the desert has its own simple atmosphere and style that are extremely divergent from city life. The desert awaits you with a number of activities, such as cycling with four-wheel drive bicycles, skiing on sand, sand dunning with four-wheel buggies, in addition to the fun of camping under the star-studded desert sky.

Featured Destinations for Deserts:

Bawshar Sands , The Empty Quarter , A'Sharqiyah Sands , Ramlat Tawq

Camping

Many people like to take a break away from the hustle and bustle of city life with its pampered lifestyle and go camping to break the routine of their lives. The diverse environment of Oman allows many options when it comes to camping. Camping is enjoyed on Shatti Qantab in Muscat Governorate, Shatti Ras Al Hadd in A'Sharqiyah South Governorate, on mountain tops in Jabal Shams (Sun Mountain) or Al Jabal Al Akhdar (Green Mountain) in A'Dakhiliyah Governorate, camping in the desert, both in Badiya sands in A'Sharqiyah North Governorate, or in The Empty Quarter in Dhofar.  This is not to mention the magnificence of camping in Dimaniyat Islands in Al Batinah South Governorate, or camping in one of the secluded beaches that spread in Musandam Governorate. Oman is sure to provide versatile options for fans of this outdoor activity.

In addition to the camps created for tourists in each of these areas, visitors are allowed to pitch their own tents in each of these places, as well as in many others.

Featured Destinations for Camping:

Khawr Al Maghsayl , Bandar Khayran Reserve , Barr Al Hikman (Al Hikman Peninsula) , Al-Dimaniyat Islands Nature Reserve , Al-Dimaniyat Islands Nature Reserve , Dhofar Beaches , Dhofar Beaches , Duqm Beach , Plage d'Ad Duqm , The Empty Quarter

Caving

Oman abounds with caves of different sizes, topography and ruggedness, some of which can be accessed with a group of amateurs, like Muqal Cave in Wadi Bani Khalid in A'Sharqiyah North Governorate, while others need considerable effort, training, experience and specialised equipment, such as Majlis Al Jinn Cave (Salma Plateau) in Muscat Governorate.

Featured Destinations for Cave Exploring:

Abu Habban Cave , AlHoota Cave , Al Kittan Cave , Jernan Cave , Majlis Al Jinn Cave (Salma Plateau) Muqal Cave , Al Marnif Cave , Salalah City , Teeq Cave and Tawi Ateer Sinkhole , Teeq Cave and Tawi Ateer Sinkhole

Golf

Although relatively new to the Sultanate of Oman, Muscat now has three 18 hole grass golf courses within easy reach of each other, with more expected to be launch in the near future. For those wanting to learn the game, each course also has an Academy staffed by qualified golf instructors who will be happy to guide you through the early stages.

The climate makes golfing most popular in Oman between the months of September and May.

Featured Destinations for Golf:

Almouj Golf , Muscat Hills Golf & Country Club , Ghala Valley

 

Kitesurfing / kiteboarding

is an adventure surface water sport that has been described as combining wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, and gymnastics into one extreme sport. Kitesurfing harnesses the power of the wind to propel a rider across the water on a small surfboard or a kiteboard

Although relatively new to the Sultanate of Oman, have developed fast as kitesurfing destination.

Daily wind above 20 knots, 28 degrees air, all kind of spots within a short drive – shallow lagoon (8 sq-km) and waves.

Featured Destinations for Kitesurfing

Dhofar Beaches , Duqm Beach , Masirah Island , Ras Al Hadd Beach , Al-Sawadi Beach , Shores of Al Wusta Region

 

Shopping

Omani markets are characterised by their diversity. Old markets are full of handicrafts such as silver, gold, textiles and masterpieces produced by traditional industries like dagger-making, side by side with modern shopping centres that contain everything the visitor is looking for at the best prices.

Shops and precincts open from nine in the morning to one in the afternoon, and from four in afternoon until ten at night for precincts and eleven at night for most retail stores, seven days a week, except Fridays, when they open after four o'clock in the afternoon.

For the traditional markets in Oman, the morning hours are the best time for shopping.

Featured Destinations for Shopping

Al Hafah Souq , Al Husn Souq , Bahla Souq , Sohar Handicrafts Souq ,Ibri Souq , Mutrah Souq , Nizwa City

Nizwa Souq , Old Muscat , Ar Rustaq Souq

 

Whale Watching

Whales visit the shores of the Sultanate at irregular intervals, particularly in A'Sharqiyah South Governorate and AlWasta Governorate, in addition to Dhofar Governorate.

The most famous types of whales that visit Oman are: Bryde’s Whales or Tropical Whales, Blue Whales, Humpback Whales, Sperm Whales, Dwarf Sperm Whales, Cuvier's Beaked Whale, Pygmy Killer Whales, Killer Whales, Melon-Headed Whales and False Killer Whale. Note that the dolphins seen in Omani waters belong to the whale species.

Featured Destinations for Whale Watching

Barr Al Hikman (Al Hikman Peninsula) , Dhofar Beaches , Dhofar Beaches , Duqm Beach , Plage d'Ad Duqm , Al-Halaneyat Islands , Masirah Island , Salalah City , Shores of Al Wusta Region , Plages de la région d’Al Wusta (le centre)

 

Bird watching

Oman witnesses huge swarms of migratory birds during their seasonal journey between their nesting habitats and the places where they spend winters, especially those birds migrating from Europe and East Asia. Many birds, especially water fowl, migrate from faraway regions like northern Siberia, and travel about five thousand kilometres.

Visitors can see many species of birds in each of Oman’s different regions. Al Hikman Peninsula, Masirah Island, Al Wusta Governorate beaches, the Lagoons, the beaches and springs in Dhofar are ideal places for bird observation. Many of these species live in Dimaniyat Islands and in Musandam.

Featured Destinations for Birds Watching

Khawr Al Maghsayl , Khawr Awqad , Khawr Al Baleed , Barr Al Hikman (Al Hikman Peninsula) , Khawr Ad Dahareez , Al-Dimaniyat Islands Nature Reserve , Al-Dimaniyat Islands Nature Reserve , Dhofar Beaches , Dhofar Beaches , Duqm

 

Turtle Watching

Thousands of sea turtles migrate annually from the shores of the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea and Somalia to lay their eggs on the Sultanate’s shores. Oman has five of the seven species of sea turtles. They are: The Green Turtle, found on most Omani beaches and plentiful in Ras Al Hadd, Ras Al Jinz, Masirah Island and Ad Daymaniyat Islands; the Loggerhead Turtle that nests on Masirah Island, the shores of Dhofar and Ad Daymaniyat Islands; the Hawksbill Turtle that nests on the shores of Muscat and Ad Daymaniyat Islands; the Olive Ridley Turtle that nests on Masirah Island; and the Leatherback Turtle which is found in Omani waters but does not nest in the Sultanate.

At night, these turtles carrying their heavy shells on their backs, drag themselves out of the water to the beach, and strenuously and with great difficulty, dig a hole in the sand using the tips of their paws so as to bury their eggs and then return to the sea. After about 55 days, the eggs hatch and baby turtles come out to start the most dangerous journey of their lives, trying to avoid hungry foxes, crabs and birds and push their way towards the sea where they can find safety in the waters. Watching the turtles’ night dash to the sea is among the most popular tourist activities.

Featured Destinations for Turtle Watching

Barr Al Hikman (Al Hikman Peninsula) , Al-Dimaniyat Islands Nature Reserve , Al-Dimaniyat Islands Nature Reserve , Dhofar Beaches , Dhofar Beaches , Duqm Beach , Plage d'Ad Duqm , Al-Halaneyat Islands , Masirah Island , Ras Al Hadd Beach

Dolphin Watching

Dolphin shoals visit the shores of Oman in large numbers. Muscat and Musandam are famous for dolphin watching, although this pastime is also widespread in A'Sharqiyah South Governorate and AlWasta Governorate, in addition to Dhofar Governorate.

The types of dolphins that visit Oman are: Indian Ocean Dolphins, the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins, Risso's Dolphins, Common Bottlenose Dolphins, Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins, Rough-toothed Dolphins, Pantropical Spotted Dolphins, Striped Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins, and Long-Beaked Common Dolphins.

Featured Destinations for Dolphins Watching

Al Khayran , Bandar Khayran Reserve , Dhofar Beaches , Dhofar Beaches , Duqm Beach , Plage d'Ad Duqm , Al-Halaneyat Islands , Masirah Island , Old Muscat , Salalah City

Camel Racing

This is a popular sport where camels compete at speeds of up to 64 kilometres per hour on tracks specially built for this kind of race. Races take place regularly.

Camels, the "ships of the desert," have played a vital role in the region over thousands of years. Camels have impacted all aspects of daily desert life. Besides being a means of travel, food and shelter, camels are also used for entertaining, celebrating and competing in festivals and special events.

The sport is greatly similar to horse racing. Camel racing is an authentic Arab sport, famous especially among the Arabian Peninsula Arabs. Camel racing has evolved into an official and professional race that includes race tracks, specialised farms for raising camels and running intensive training programmes, as well as using new technologies.

A schedule of camel racing can be found on this link: www.rca.gov.om

Featured Destinations for Camel Racing

A'Sharqiyah Sands

Horse Riding and Racing

Interest in horses in Oman is one of cherished pastimes for the Omanis. Horses symbolise integrity and pride. Because of the horse’s high status and appreciation by Muslims, Oman has been famous since ancient times for raising, breeding, acquiring and caring for horses.

Horse racing is a favourite pastime for Omanis. Horse races are held annually, such as The Royal Horse Racing, organised by the Royal Stables, and horse racing in Omani States. You can find horse racing schedules on this link: www.rca.gov.om

Featured Destinations for Four Horse Racing

AlQurm Beach

Off-road

These sports vary according to the nature of the terrain. Driving four-wheel vehicles is different in the desert from the mountain, and driving in the rugged valleys is different from driving in shallow waters. When travelling through Oman, you are bound to find in each valley and mountain a semi-paved road that cuts through the top of the mountain or the bottom of the valley.

Valleys differ in nature and some are easy to traverse, while others require superb driving and manoeuvring skills. Perhaps Wadi At Ta'iyeen is the largest valley in the country as it stretches for a distance of around 82 kilometres from start to finish.

Featured Destinations for Four Wheels Drive

Al Jabal Al Akhdhar Sanctuary for Natural Sceneries , Al Jabal Al Akhdar(Green Mountain) , Bawshar Sands , The Empty Quarter , Falaj Al Jaylah , Grand Canyon , Jabal Hareem Fossils , Samhan Mountain , Jabal Shams (Sun Mountain) , Khawr Najd

 

Muscat Geoheritage

A geologist once said that Oman is one big wonderful outdoor geological Museum; its geological stories can be found everywhere. Oman is the only country in the world composed mostly of oceanic crust and rocks that originated from the mantle - deep below the earth's surface. In addition, evidence can be seen of continental drift and geological processes that have dominated the earth's surface for many millions of years.

30 geoheritage sites have been selected in the Muscat region for you to explore, and on the way to learn more about the history of our planet. Each site can be visited either on its own or as part of a discovery trail. Wherever the topography of a location allows, you will find sign boards with illustrated information about the site. Free of charge i-tourguide applications for smart phones can be downloaded from either the link below or the bar code on the signboard. These enable guidance utilizing satellite navigation (GPS) and provide multimedia information to give you a better understanding of the geological processes.

We suggest the following routes:

  • Bawshar & Al Khawd
    The Bawshar and Al Khawd geotour is a convenient day trip to explore the hinterland of the capital area. This tour provides an “off the beaten track” experience yet you are never far from the city. While following the route to these hidden attractions you will feel the contrast between the vibrant city and the calm interior. You should not miss the opportunity to drive on the new Muscat Express Way as it passes through a very scenic limestone landscape.
  • Wadi Mayh
    The tour of the geological attractions in Wadi Mayh is a convenient half day trip from Muscat. A round trip can be taken by approaching Wadi Mayh from the south-west via the Quarayyat road then exiting the Wadi from the north near Al Bustan. This tour can be combined with the Al Khayran geotour as a full day trip.
  • Muscat / Mutrah
    The Mutrah geotrek offers a peaceful walk in the heart of the capital with some great views and the fascinating story of the Oman Ophiolite. This two hour walk takes you from sea level to an elevation of around 100m. The trail can be combined with a walk to other key attractions in Mutrah, keeping you busy at least half a day. The other geoheritage features in Muscat can be inspected by vehicle to provide a broader picture of the beautiful landscape of the capital area.
  • Al Khayran
    A visit to Al Khayran lets you enjoy both great geology and stunning coastal scenery in a half-day tour from Muscat. Allow a full day to include additional activities such as swimming and snorkeling, or to combine this trail with the Wadi Mayh geotour.
  • Al Jabal Aswad & Wadi Mijlas
    Allow a full day to visit  the geoheritage features of Jabal Aswad and Wadi Mijlas. This geotour offers opportunities to explore the beautiful and diverse landscapes of the south eastern region of the capital area. A stopover in the city of Qurayyat with a visit to its traditional harbour and cultural attractions is a great way to end the day.

Featured Destinations Muscat Geoheritage

Al Fahal Island , Al Jabal Al Aswad , Al Khoud Unconformity , Al Khayran , Ayn Al Hammam Hot Spring , A’Sifah Eclogite , Bandar Khayran Reserve , Bawsher marble , Coastal erosion , Concentric fold , Eye fold , Intertidal ecosystem , Jurassic bedding , Limestone fault , Limestone landscape , Magnesite veins , Mega fold , Mega syncline , Mini folds , Mutrah Geotrail East , Mutrah Geotrail West , Nodular Limestone , Nummulites , Ophiolite contact , Ophiolite obduction , Pillow lava , Port View , Ripple marks , Riyam view , Schist bedding

Outpost Muscat

Focal point: Anca Neagoie
Office hours: Focal Point: Amanda Henson Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday, 8.15 to 11.15am (weekend is Friday-Saturday)
Languages: English, Dutch, Mandarin, Malay, French, Hindi, Arabic, German, Spanish
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