Oman travel: Take a trip to Salalah for Khareef festival
July 27, 2017 | 11:51 AM
by Muntasir Shaaban Saleh Al Farsy
Salalah, Oman

It is that time of the year when the dry brown mountains of Dhofar region turns into resplendent green. As another Khareef beckons us, Salalah once again becomes Oman’s coolest destination to visit during the summers. Be it the crisp unpolluted air, the cool misty clime, the high rolling seas or the thick carpet of greenery all around, Salalah is a must visit place during Khareef. So wait no further and plan a weekend getaway to this land of greenery, showers, and serenity.

Khareef is a colloquial Arabic term used in Southern Oman, South Eastern Yemen, and Sudan for the South East Monsoon. When the whole of Arabia experiences a sweltering heat, Salalah becomes the ideal getaway during Khareef that ends in September. While there are many idyllic places to visit throughout the year here are some of the must visit places during Khareef season.

Wadi Dawkah

This is a natural park of famous frankincense trees, and Unesco inscribed as the World Heritage Site. Located around 40 kilometres North of Salalah on Salalah-Thumrait-Muscat Highway, this is a habitat for Boswellia sacra type of frankincense trees and the trees are spread across 5 square kilometres. Also visit the Frankincense Museum.

Nature’s Bounty

One of the main attractions that tourists look for during Khareef is the waterfalls and it depends on the amount of rain. To name a few, Ayn Tabouk and Ayun Athum are located on the road to Nashib and the latter is the most beautiful of all. It is easily accessible too.

Historical Sites

While nature’s bounty draws visitors to Salalah during Khareef the ancient historical sites that’s frequently visited throughout the year is a huge attraction during Khareef. While the tomb of Prophet Ayoub (Pbuh) is often visited another burial shrine is of Prophet Imran (Pbuh) in Salalah. The remains of Queen of Sheba’s Summer Palace is a place to visit and this is where her precious resin cargo was shipped to King Solomon. It is in Sumhuram previously known as Khor Rori and this small fortified town was an outpost for the kingdom. One of the lost ancient frankincense sites is Shisr, Ubar, of which Lawrence of Arabia called , “the Atlantis of the Sands’’ and there is a reference in the Holy Quran as IraamdhatilImaad meaning “City of Towers’’. It is 85km north-east of Thumrait and rediscovered in 1992 by scientific methods. Taqah Castle, despite being relatively the most recent, is worth seeing due to its past history. The Castle had been built in the 19th century. Take time to visit the Al Balid Ruins and marvel at the old residential areas, stone-shaped artefacts, and Al Balid fort. To get a sense of Salalah’s rich history visit the Mirbat Castle.

The Khareef Festival

It is held in Salalah each year with music and dance performances from different regions of Oman as well as singers from outside. In addition, an exhibition and sale of Omani handicrafts, sports, and other events are held. Zanooj dance, which involves a cast of thousands is a spectacular sight.

How to Go

There are daily flights and buses between Muscat and Salalah. You can also drive from Muscat to Salalah which takes roughly around 12 hours. [email protected]

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