There is plenty of wildlife to be seen in Oman from watching turtle hatchlings make their way to the ocean to visiting an Oryx sanctuary.
It’s a laborious journey, climbing up the sands in the dead of night. But thousands of turtles do it every night, between July and October, on the shores of Oman.
Using the tips of their flippers, they dig a tiny hole in which to lay their eggs before returning to the waves. And, all being well, 55 days later, the baby turtles will hatch and begin their own perilous journey to the relative safety of the sea.
Four of the seven species of turtles lay their eggs on the beaches in Oman: the green, loggerhead, hawksbill turtle and Olive Ridley. You might also spot the leatherback turtle offshore.
Watching the turtles lay eggs – and the babies make their life-threatening dash to the sea (crabs, foxes and birds all lie in wait) – is one of many extraordinary wildlife experiences you can hope to see in Oman.
While the majority of the country is hot and dry, it has a surprisingly varied landscape and climate. Visit Wadi Ghul, known as the Grand Canyon of Arabia, for spectacular views; experience the vast space of the world’s largest sand desert, the Empty Quarter; or hike through the majestically rugged Al Hajar mountains, the highest in the eastern Arabian Peninsula. Perhaps most unexpected are the lush green Dhofar region with its monsoon climate and the picturesque fjords at Musandam.
The plants and trees in these disparate landscapes are varied and exciting. The native flora includes Jasminum grandiflorum (royal jasmine), Commiphora myrrha (myrrh) and Boswellia sacra, known as the olibanum tree – or, more commonly, frankincense.
The wide range of wildlife includes the spinner dolphins that frolic off the coast at Muscat, and ospreys, terns, steppe eagles and crested honey buzzards that can be seen at Salalah to the south.
Oman is also home to several endangered species, many of which are protected by reserves established by royal decree. The Dhofar mountain range is considered the best habitat for the Arabian leopard, and the Jabal Samhan Reserve, near Salalah, is home to some of the last remaining few in the wild.
Al Wusta wildlife reserve in the central desert gives you the chance to view a breeding population of oryx – sadly now one of the few opportunities to view these beautiful and distinctive animals. And, for the chance to watch the endangered green turtle nesting, head to the Ras Al Jinz reserve on the eastern shores of the Arabian Peninsula.
But not all of Oman’s wildlife is to be seen on the land. The sultanate has almost 3,000km of Indian Ocean coastline, with clear blue waters and a rich abundance of marine life.
Whether you choose the renowned dive spots near Muscat – the most well known being the Daymaniyat islands, Bandar Khairan and Fahal islands – or the secluded bays in the Dhofar region, there are dives for every level of experience, and you have every chance of spotting a fantastic range of fish, including devil and eagle rays, and turtles.
Omani waters have a beguilingly rich variety of whales. Depending on the season and migration patterns, the tropical, humpback, sperm, killer and false killer whales can be found, as well as the biggest of them all, the majestic blue. There are tours that will take you out to sea to see these magnificent creatures, but if you’re lucky you may catch sight of them from the shore.
Oman is an exciting and welcoming year-round destination of rich history and diverse landscapes. It’s a land of towering desert dunes, palm-lined beaches and lush verdant mountains, where ancient character meets modern comfort.
Whether you’re seeking adventure, chasing staggering scenery or in need of a culture fix, Oman is sure to exceed expectations.
For more information and to start booking your trip, visit experienceoman.om
Oman is a wonderful combination of ageless heritage and modern life.
It is a place where you can explore a traditional souk in the morning and attend a world-class show at the renowned Royal Opera House in the evening.
Visitors and adventurers looking for a unique holiday experience will find that Oman has so much to offer.
Hiking, scuba diving, fishing, kitesurfing, caving… the list of memorable activities you can enjoy in the sultanate is endless, Telegraph states.
From tall mountains and deep gorges to water-filled wadis, endless beaches and some of the world’s most stunning desert landscapes, the diverse beauty of Oman is apparent right across the country.
Weekend revel in the spectacular dunes of Sharqiyah Sands
There is no better way to experience Oman’s desert than going on a dune bashing or on a camel safari at Sharqiyah Sands. Deserts have long held a place in the hearts of those who live in Oman, as well as tourists who visit the land, and as the weather gets cooler it is time to plan a trip to Oman’s best treasure.
It is unimaginable how much Oman’s deserts have to offer, given the vast stretches of varied layers and shades of brown sand. You can spend a calm day in the desert, enjoying the peace and serenity while watching the sun set behind the high dunes, or you can take your monster trucks and 4X4s and try your hand at some adrenaline-gushing dune bashing.
You can spend a day with Bedouins, the residents of the desert, and learn about their culture or try a camel staycation, making maximum use of the ship of the desert.
Sharqiyah Sands, earlier known as Wahiba Sands, extends from North and South Al Sharqiyah Governorate to Al Wusta Governorate. With diverse terrain along with different species of flora and fauna, the golden dunes of the Sharqiyah Sands desert holds a special place in the hearts of those who live in Oman or come here as tourists. It extends over an area of up to about ten thousand square kilometres.
According to Oman’s Ministry of Tourism, “The sand colour ranges from red to brown as far as the eye can see. It is the original homeland of the Bedouins. This area attracts many desert adventure fans, and is preferred by visitors owing to its ease of accessibility and availability of nearby services, which make it a first class tourist attraction.”
If you’re looking for an adrenaline boost while in Oman, that is exactly what you get while you are on the vast expanse of Oman’s deserts. The massive dunes that the Sultanate is famous for do a better job than a roller coaster in giving you the thrill while the visual appeal of the golden sands glistening in the sunshine make you want to stay longer. One of the best places in Oman to experience dune bashing is Bidiyah, on the edge of the Sharqiyah Sands, located some 233km from Muscat.
While it is true desert safaris are an unique experience it can also present many challenges for even the most seasoned traveller. Here are some safety tips from Times of Oman to help ensure a safe and memorable journey.
- Carry plenty of water
- Plan your trip carefully
- Always tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
- Stick with your itinerary, and let them know when you return.
- Do not travel in the desert without taking appropriate maps.
- Dress properly
- Keep an eye and ear to the weather reports.
· Take supplies for several days, including food, water, first aid equipment and necessary medication.