Times of Oman
Aug 29, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 11:34 AM GMT
Discovering Duqm
January 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Photo - Sarah MacDonald

Duqm is undergoing a major transformation. The sleepy little fishing village is set to become a major hub for shipping and industry in the next few decades. There are plans to build a city that can accommodate more than 50,000 people, quite a change from the current population of 4,500.

Currently it has a port and dry docks, a couple of new residential complexes, and a few hotels, and big visions for much, much more, including an airport, free trade zone, factories, shopping malls, parks, school, a public transit system and other developments to make it an attractive, sustainable, bustling 21st century city. Duqm may not yet have the modern attractions to keep visitors entertained, but in the meantime it is a peaceful getaway with a few places worthwhile visiting, such as its strange rock garden, fishing villages and beautiful beaches.

The most fascinating place in Duqm is the 'Rock Garden', a three square kilometre area filled with oddly-shaped sandstone and limestone formations. Formed approximated 46 million years ago in a freshwater aquifer, the rocks have been affected by wind, rain, heat and frost. The Rock Garden is a wonderful example of Oman's geological wonders, and it's a place where a creative mind will find many creatures hidden in the shapes, such as a turtle, mushroom, fish, many faces, and even an ET lookalike.

While the port, dry docks and economic free trade zone will soon bring a variety of new jobs to Duqm, traditionally the little town's economy has been based on fishing. The coast is still home to a few bustling fishing villages, where the fishermen are happy to chat and pose for photos.

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