I participated on a week-long program called Discover Oman during which we explore hands-on the landscape, the culture and traditions of this wonderful country that has hosted us.
Salalah, the capital of the southern region of Dhofar, can be reached by car on a 10 hr drive or a 45 min flight from Muscat. We took the flight from Muscat to Salalah by means of Oman Air. It's worth mentioning that Oman Air has a Dreamliner on this route!
Salalah is also famous in the region due to the following:
We stayed at the Arabian Sea Villas which is a somewhat exclusive bed and breakfast located right on the beach. It's owner and manager Mussalam is readily available to help you in almost anything you need. You may also want to inquire about his beduin-style camp in the Empty Quarters. For more information you may contact him directly at +968.9949.5175 which also works for WhatsApp.
... and remember, don't be too surprised to see camels running freely through the highway and at almost every location you visit. Drive carefully and share the road/venue!
Places to visit:
Well know for sardine fishing, it hosts really nice beaches, white sand and azure waters; but beware that the sea shores have strong currents and it does steep drastically.
It is said that its architecture is quite similar/linked to that of the Hadrami style in Yemen.
One of the landmarks you can't miss here is the Taqah Castle which is a compact castle now turned into a museum (1994) which showcases what was life like for tribal leaders back then.
On the ground floor you can find a prison, a reception hall and rooms formerly used by guards or destined for storage; as well as others used now for different exhibitions of metalwork and cookware. On the upper floor you can find the watch towers photographed below.
Sumhuram / Khor Rori Archaeological Site:
A former major/wealthy port in southern Arabia used for trading frankincense. It is now a UNESCO site that overlooks an inlet where fresh water and water from the sea come together.
Other than the ruins of this archaeological site, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse at flamingos or any other migratory bird as this is a sanctuary for them.
It's a wadi with frankincense trees in the wild and also a UNESCO site which protects 5,000 planted trees. They are currently upgrading the reservoir to double its capacity, that is 10,000 frankincense trees.
Frankincense is an essential element in Omani life as it is used with a frankincense burner to perfume (bukhoor) clothes, hair and beards. It is also used to repel mosquitoes, and Oman's signature scents as you pass by mosques, malls, hotel lobbies; in short, almost everywhere you go.
On the above photo, our local guide showed us how frankincense is collected by making a small cut or tapping the peely/papery-like bark of the tree in order for it to secrete a resin called tears that will later dry and harden up for proper collection.
It is worth noting that:
Make sure you visit the Land of Frankincense Museum in Salalah!
... and if you're looking for a gift to take back home, contact The Nejd as they have handcrafted candles, soaps and oils that make very unique gift.
This is the place to go during the khareef as it is a wadi that contains water all year long but during the khareef season, the water creates waterfalls that plunge meters down over the edge of the wadi.
This is also the location where many bedouins still bring their cattle (goats, camels and yes, cows).
The alleged tomb of Job:
This tomb is a small mausoleum and I have written alleged as there are at least 4 other locations that claim that they have Job's tomb.
This tomb is located on the mountainous region of Jebel Al Qar north of Salalah. This area is also used by the bedouins in their daily life agriculture.
Marneef Cave / Al-Mughsayl:
The scenic view of the sea with the mountains as a backdrop make this visit worthwhile.
The following are random photos within Salalah: