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Cool places to visit in Oman during summer
April 19, 2016 | 6:12 PM
by Mohammed Shafeeqe
 
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Scorching heat, sultry days, sweat and dull hard days out... It is the time of the year in Oman that everybody is looking for a quick getaway into some cool retreat to beat the heat on weekends.

Though fatigue of the long working day and the cool comfort of the greenhouse gas emitting air-conditioners soothe us, we think of going to nature, spewing springs, cool pools, breezy beaches, remote farm houses, flowing wadis, its cool surroundings, high valleys where farmers grow grapes, figs, oranges, apricots, pears, and pomegranates or mountain tops that rise to an altitude of serenity and cool climate.

Nobody will want to go for surprise holiday trips to exotic places in Europe, the Far East or elsewhere in the present economic conditions. The best option is ‘do it here in Oman’. Do it right here, many of the travel enthusiast say. On the Western Hajar Mountains decked with lush terraced gardens, on the cool sandy beaches where turtles come and nestle, on tiny islands where amazing marine life thrive beneath the sea surface, in the deep gorges where crystal clear streams still gurgle down mossy rocks to form emerald pools, or in the remote villages where the very traditions and beautiful people would cool you off, Oman has many more options to cool off this summer.

Salalah has been considered the coolest place across the region during the peak summer months of July-August, when monsoon showers would wake up the seeds underneath bathe the hills green. Salalah will be crowded with tourists from GCC countries during the Khareef and the number has increased over the past few years, points out a tour operator. “We need not set aside Salalah, but there are other good places in Oman for local people to go picnicking, spend weekends and for overnight stays during summer like Jebel Shams, Jebel Akhdar, Ras Al Jinz and Masirah Island, says Bainu Thomas, Manager (Operations), Eihab Travels. The summer temperature in these places may be a little high during the middle of the day, but it becomes cooler and perfect for evening picnics and overnight stays, he says.



The Western Hajar Mountain range or the Jebel Akhdar range has much more to offer as it has mountain villages including Wakan and Bilad Sayt, points out Bainu Thomas. Trips to these mountain villages and many other wadis we have here would be ideal for day picnics. And for people interested in long drives and extended trips, they could take the coastal road to Salalah via Ras Al Jinz, Masirah Island, Duqm, Khaluf, Ras Al Madrakah and Wadi Shuwaymiyah. Besides, a cool dip in Wadi Bani Khalid, Wadi Shab, Wadi Arbaeen or Wadi Tiwi could be another good option for both domestic and foreign tourists who look for weekend getaways during summer. Opportunity for swimming is great with these wadis maintaining a constant flow of water round the year.

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Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountain)
  • Rises to a height of 2,980 metres
  • About two-and-a-half hours drive from Muscat
  • Temperature is around 15 degrees cooler
  • than in Muscat
  • Incredible views of terraced farms
  • Need a 4x4 (police will stop at check-post)
  • Better stay facilities


Jebel Shams (Mountain of Sun)
  • The highest peak in the Arabian Peninsula
  • Located 240km from Muscat via Nizwa Al Hamra
  • Summer temperature is around 20°C
  • ‘Grand Canyon’ with a vertical drop of 2,100 metres
  • A place to hike, take photographs, and have picnic


Wakan Village
  • Features agricultural terraces cultivating fruits at 2,000 metres above sea level
  • Located 150km from Muscat
  • The graded road leading to the village passes through many valleys
  • Enjoys moderate temperatures in summer
  • Walk up a trail stretching for 1,100 metres, comprising 700 steps


Bilad Sayt
  • A mountain village showcasing traditional Omani rural settlement
  • Enjoys moderate daytime temperatures even in summer
  • Can be reached through Wadi Al Sahtan and Wadi Bani Awf
  • Accessible only by 4WD


Wadi Shab
  • Gorgeous narrow mountain ravine south
  • of the Bimmah Sinkhole
  • Breathtaking views of aquamarine pools, waterfalls
  • Opportunities for swimming and a visit to a partially submerged cave


Ras Al Jinz
  • The easternmost point of the Arabian Peninsula and an important turtle-nesting site
  • Peak time for turtle watching is from June to September
  • Located 40km away from Sur
  • The area is under government protection, escorted tours available


Wadi Bani Khalid
  • Most popular wadi of Sharqiyah region, its stream maintains a constant flow
  • Around 270km from Muscat north of Al Kamil
  • Features large pools, boulders, and caves including Kahf Maqal


Masirah Island
  • A real desert island experience with isolated sandy beaches and wild life
  • An Indian Ocean island off the east coast of Oman, 95km long
  • Hosts all four of Oman’s nesting species of turtles
  • Camping is still the most common way of experiencing Masirah
  • 450km from Muscat: Take the Nizwa road, at Bid Bid take left to reach Sur road for Sinaw; from Shannah take ferry to Masirah Island


Duqm
  • The port city is witnessing major transformation in all sectors including in tourism
  • Places to visit are Rock Garden - Oman’s geological wonder, old fishing villages, and beautiful beaches
  • Duqm Beach, a beautiful beach known for its soft, clean sands, azure waters, and cool breezes, is 20 kilometres from the centre of the wilayat
  • Can be reached by Oman Air flights and by road (About 600km from Muscat down south)


Dhofar (Salalah)
  • Best season for visit is monsoon or ‘Khareef’, (Salalah Tourism Festival from July 15 to August 31 every year)
  • About 1,040 kilometres away from Muscat, minimum temperature around 16 degree C
  • Daily flights and buses between Muscat
  • and Salalah
  • Drive from Muscat to Salalah takes roughly 12 hours


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