Oman Coast (13.05.16)
While Oman’s reputation as an expanding travel destination is considerably enhanced by its thrilling inland regions – with magnificent mountains, dramatic deserts and rich culture – one of its most exciting assets is its coastline.
Overlooking three Seas (Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman) it stretches for over 3,000 kms from the Straits of Hormuz in the north, to Empty Quarter in the south. An impressive variety of landscapes are strung out along the way, including seemingly endless beaches, lagoons, bays, coves and islands.
As my photos highlight, the diversity is thrilling, from the dramatic clear water fjordlands in the northern Musandam Peninsular, to the paradise white sand beaches nearer Salalah in the south. I defy you not to surrender to this particularly unique stretch of Middle Eastern coastline, dominated as it is by sunshine, clear skies and an overriding sense of tranquillity.
Putting aside personal memories of lazy days gazing at sapphire-blue horizons, I can objectively recommend this whole coastal region to visitors. The contrast in scenery is as dramatic as the differing weather regions, marine eco-systems and luxury hotel opportunities. Wildlife is prolific. It is home to humpback, sperm, pygmy blue, killer and Bryde’s whales, as well as bottlenose, humpback, spinner and Risso’s dolphin. My personal favourite wildlife sightings in this part of the world include surf-bobbing dolphins and giant green sea turtles shunting themselves up beaches to build nests and lay eggs.
Huge swathes of the coast remain constantly deserted, with opportunities to stroll, swim and surf in complete isolation. Birders will enjoy a variety of local and migrant water sightings – including the African spoonbill, Lesser Flamingo, Baillon’s Crake , Little Bittern, Yellow Bittern, flamingo, pheasant-tailed jacana, Pale Rock Sparrow, Pintail snipe, heron, Pheasant-tailed Jacana and several species of eagle.
The impact of such an extended coastal stretch, so close to one of the driest areas in the world, affects the inland regions. For example as my previous blog on the Wahiba Desert region highlights, the coastal morning dew allows for a particularly exciting local desert eco-system.
When planning Nomadic Thoughts trips to Oman, we believe it is essential to explain the contrast between the busier luxury beach hotels nearer Muscat, and those in the deserted remoteness of the outer regions. You will soon appreciate the size of the country’s coast. When driving along the never-ending white sand beaches in a four-wheel-drive, you feel just as insignificant as you do while navigating the hundreds and hundreds of kilometres of seemingly vehicle-free cliff-cut motorways.
Apart from the extreme summer temperature periods (June-August), Oman is a perfect destination to visit nearly all year round.