The Sultanate of Oman is a great destination for families and friends alike and if culture and adventure are what you wish to experience on your next vacation, you should definitely plan a trip to Oman. Here's a great collection of blogs on what to do in Oman, as well as some ideas about how to make the most of your Oman visit. Find the Oman travel articles and blogs right here at the Zahara Tours Blog and make your vacation to Oman a memorable one armed with insider tips and travel ideas.
The Jebel Akhdar mountain region, a preferred place for farming in Oman, starts getting ready for olive harvest, come August end. At this time the villagers will start taking the harvested olives to be pressed to produce the first batch of olive oil for the season. The path leading to the olive groves in Jebel Akhdar can only be reached by driving through the winding road up the steep mountain to reach the plantations here. Olive oil harvest started in the country in 2012, with about 15,000 olive trees being planted in the north eastern part of Oman, which enjoys a climate similar to Mediterranean countries. At the beginning of the olive plantation efforts many varieties of olive trees were handed over to hundreds of Omani farmers in an effort to introduce olive cultivation in the Sultanate. Fortunately, after less than a decade since the beginning, it can be said that this project to start olive cultivation in Oman was met with great success and enthusiasm. A wide variety of olive species are currently being produced in the mountainous region of Jebel Akhdar. Many initially believed that olive couldn't be grown in the harsh climatic conditions of Oman, however the persistent efforts of all involved have yielded great results. On your visit here, you can enjoy an educational guided tour through the olive groves of Jebel Akhdar learning about terrace agriculture, growing olives, harvest techniques, milling and cold-pressing of oils along with the possibility of tasting some of the delicious current harvest if you’re lucky. The term “olive tourism” was first used to describe the totality of travel experiences relating to the olive and to olive oil and in Oman, the majority of focus of live tourism lies in the olive harvest, which everyone can explore during harvest season. For those that are interested in other experiences, they can find niche olive oil tastings and olive themed spas. One of the most enjoyable parts of getting to know olive oil is tasting its different varieties and while tastings were once the preserve of professionals, they are now sought out by visitors as well. Tastings can be arranged by special request either indoors or they can be held outdoors in olive groves. The basic equipment for professional tasting includes glasses for the extra virgin olive oils being served. The process is reminiscent of wine tasting, and wins you over sip by sip, as you begin to appreciate how sharp the differences can be between varieties. Those who find themselves in Oman during harvest season should definitely visit the olive plantations at Jebel Akhdar, stroll through the groves, following the workers pruning the olive trees. The plantation tour often offers the opportunity to witness the olive harvest, and explains the processes for the extraction and bottling of olive oil. Reach out to our team at +968 24400844 via phone or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your customised olive tour at Jebel Akhdar in Oman.
Oman’s turtle reserve at Ras Al Jinz, is famous not just Oman's leading conservation project for the hatching and protection of endangered turtles but also offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for visitors to observe thousands of turtles laying their eggs here at night. The reserve with 45 km of protected coastline was created in 1986 for the protection of these shelled creatures, and to spread awareness about them. Ras Al Jinz also offers accommodation and boasts a spectacular museum on-site for visitors. Visitors will probably spot green turtles on their visit and may if they are fortunate be able to witness other species like the Loggerhead, Leatherback, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill turtle as these often traverse through the region. About Turtle Hatching and Tours at Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve Most turtles lay their eggs during the night when turtles venture out of the sea to dig a hole in the sand and lay up to a hundred and twenty eggs in one go. Once they are done laying their eggs, they head back to the waters. It takes around fifty five days for the eggs to hatch and the baby turtles to emerge and begin their journey to the sea. Adult turtles can grow upto four feet long, weighing upto three hundred pounds. The reserve offers daily guided walks twice a day that offers you a chance to be able to see sea turtles in their natural habitat. The tours happen in the evening and dawn and generally start in the main reserve centre and from there the groups begin their kilometre long walk to the beach once the guides get updates on where the sea turtles are. Visitors can spot the turtle tracks and nests on the beach and if they are lucky they will spot hatchlings breaking through the surface to begin their journey out to the ocean. Visitors can only explore the beach with a guide as they know where the turtles and their nests are, and how to protect them and how not to interfere with their lives. Flash photography is not allowed as sudden lights will startle the turtle and stop them from laying their eggs. Noise can also be a distraction and prevent the turtles from going about their business. How to Get To Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve Located on the Eastern peninsula of Oman, Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve is easily accessible to all and lies on the stunning Muscat to Sur Coastal Road. The distance from Oman’s capital Muscat, to Ras Al Jinz is about 250 km via Route 17. A car ride can take around three hours and bus trips takes about four to six hours The Best Period to Visit the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve Around May to September every year is the best turtle spotting season in Oman. While the turtle nesting period peaks between the months of July and September, it is the hottest time of the year in Oman. During the turtle spotting season lucky visitors may see more than a hundred turtles nesting. On the other hand there is no predicting what happens in the wild, and some days sightings can dry up— but for the most part, at least a few turtles can be spotted here all year round, with the rare exception of a few days in the low season. The Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve Museum Those heading to Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve should also visit the museum there as it displays a lot of information about Sea turtles and their habitat. They are on the endangered species list and the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve is doing its part to educate locals and visitors about these beautiful creatures and promote social responsibility. You’ll learn about the seven different species of sea turtles, discover their migration patterns, and gain a deeper understanding of the various factors that are causing them harm like pollution, poaching, and coastal development which disrupts their natural habitats and lives. Accommodation and Food at the Ras Al Jinz Visitors can stay at the Ras Al Jinz hotel or the luxury eco-tents here. Ras Al Jinz’s restaurant offers all-day dining with a vast variety of dishes from many cuisines. Guests staying at Ras Al Jinz can also partake in diving, fishing, hiking, and snorkelling.
When autumn sets in with average temperatures dropping to more bearable ranges and the occasional rain shower it is harvesting season at Jabal Al Akhdar, placed high up in Oman's central Hajar mountain ranges. Also referred to as the ‘Green Mountain’ Jabal Akhdar is a two-hour drive from the capital, Muscat and a pleasant year round destination as temperatures here remain well below averages experienced by the rest of the country with summer temperature staying under 20 degrees Celsius and winter letting it dip to below zero with snow being spotted occasionally. The cooler climates here allows for vast variety of produce to grow here including roses, figs, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, pears, apricots, plums, peaches, walnuts, almonds, olives and of course pomegranates turning Jabal Al Akhdar into a hub of activity for those looking to escape hotter climates and explore experiential tourism in the mountains. Come September and October, vibrant pink and green pomegranates can be seen everywhere around this verdant mountain. Coupled with the stunning views offered by the mountaintop, it is no wonder that everyone from locals, to tourists and expats head to the area to explore these farms particularly during September when major fruit harvesting occurs. While the number varies depending on who you ask, Oman's Green Mountain is said to be home to somewhere between 20,000 to 60,000 pomegranate trees, with each tree bearing well over sixty to a hundred fruits depending on the conditions. With tens of varieties of pomegranates planted on this mountain, a few dominate the plantations here with the Omani pomegranate known of its light red colour and sweet taste and fragile seeds being very popular amongst visitors as it floods the markets during season with some fruits weighing more than a kilo. While the trees themselves start to flower as early as March, it takes them over five months of nurturing them from flowering to harvest time. Harvests can start as early as August and run to as late as October or November depending on the climate and other conditions. The pomegranate harvest season is one of the top attractions in Jabal Akhdhar and some years see more than 100,000 visitors,visiting Jabal Akhdhar to experience what the mountain has to offer. Visitors often enjoy being able to experience unique activities and seasonal tours such as pomegranate harvesting and orchard tours. The tours organised for visitors to these farms offer not just an opportunity to explore these gorgeous farms but also offers visitors the chance to learn about the farming methods used here and interact with local farmers discovering the history of the farms and the people in them. Growing pomegranates requires the know-how and experience on how to cultivate them in this area. The pomegranate trees must be consistently watered as required with both under and overwatering leading to disaster. While plants that are underwatered lead to low quality fruits, overwatering causes fruits to crack open or ripen early. Once the harvest is decided most of the farms sell their fruits at a per tree rate through auctions. Visitors can purchase fruits, explore the breathtaking landscape through nature walks, try their hand and more adventurous mountain climbing activities in the area, learn about these pomegranate plantations or even experiment with pomegranate based spa options in some places.
Daymaniyat Island, opened to the public less than a decade ago, is only now gaining prominence as one of the best diving sites in the Middle East as is popular destination to explore coral reefs and spot marine life chief amongst which is the whale sharks. These magnificent creatures congregate in large numbers along Muscat’s coastline every summer along with their pups as they migrate southwards to the warmer waters of the southern hemisphere. As the summer recedes from September onwards and cooler weathers start to set in, Oman becomes a hotspot for snorkelers and divers looking to spot the gigantic whale sharks. During this period, there is a very good chance of an encountering them, and while the idea of swimming with so called ‘sharks’ may not seem appealing, whale sharks are very different from that part of their namesakes— Even though they are one of the largest creatures in the ocean growing to be 40 feet long and weighing up to 20 tons, they are filter feeders who eat planktons, krills and small fish. Even knowing all the facts, nothing can prepare you for actually seeing one in person as the graceful giants swim past you, unbothered by your presence and occasionally coming to investigate curious humans before continuing on their journey. The docile and harmless creatures have beautiful coloration and patterns which reflect dazzling patterns off the sunlight underwater. You can also head out on a yacht and if you’re lucky you may be able to witness a whale shark breaching over the water, where it leaps out leaving behind an awestruck audience in the boats waiting around. Breaching is the term used for when these massive beasts jump out of the water with a substantial part, at least forty percent, of their body outside the water. Where to Spot Whale Sharks in Oman The best places to spot Whale Sharks in Oman are the Daymaniyat Islands and the Al Fahal Island. Daymaniyat Islands, a 45 minute boat ride from Al-Mouj Marina, Muscat is one of the best spots in Oman for whale shark spotting. These islands were designated as an Omani nature reserve in the year 1993 as part of the conservation efforts of the country to protect the turtles, fish, and coral reefs here. Trips are controlled and limited by the Omani government to maintain the delicate equilibrium of marine life here. Tours are not allowed between May to October due to the same reasons. Located 4 km off Al Qurum beach in Muscat, Al Fahal Island also known as Shark Island is a fossilised limestone formation with three prominent points rising out above the water. Apart from all of Oman’s 39 coral species, it is also home to numerous schools of fish that are found in and around the corals and reefs and of course it is popular as a destination to spot whale sharks swimming. It’s an excellent place for snorkelling and diving. Some of the other marine life that can be spotted here includes barracudas, and a variety of rays like the giant eagle ray, and Mobula ray. When is the Best Time to Spot Whale Sharks in Oman The best time to visit the area to spot Whale Sharks in Oman is between September to November, when they along with their calves are spotted off the coast of Oman as they migrate Southwards to find warmer waters during this time of the year. If you have ever dreamed of seeing or swimming with whale sharks, head over to Oman to witness this beautiful sight.
Spread across one of the longest coastlines in the Arabian peninsula at 2092 km The Sultanate of Oman is bordered by three bio geographically distinct water bodies: the Arabian or the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman also known as the Oman Sea, and the Arabian Sea. So it is no wonder that while exploring Oman, some time dedicated to the water activities is a must. Despite all the great land activities, it is a must to discover our Omani ocean's beauty. . Dolphin watching Discover a wonderful experience of getting close to dolphins and whales in the water when you visit Muscat in Oman. The Dolphin watching tour timing can vary but most tours tend to be about two hours. Dolphins are spotted in Muscat throughout the year and so too do the dolphin tours operate throughout the year. Visitors can take upon a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the ethereal feeling of watching these creatures dance along with the waves. Along with watching the dolphins, visitors also have a chance to enjoy the scenic beauty of Muscat Coastline on these tours. There are many different types of dolphins and whales spotted in Oman. The most frequently sighted dolphin species around Muscat are spinner dolphins who are oftentimes joined by the long-nosed common dolphins,and can be spotted riding the waves in a mixed group. But on a less regular basis are Bryde’s Whales, Humpback Whales, Risso’s Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, False Killer Whale and the occasional Killer Whale group, among others. Spinner dolphins are also commonly spotted in Muscat which delight the viewer because of their spinning leaps. When dolphins are in a playful, social mood they can be extremely tactile with one another and be spotted playing games. This playful time is when they are most likely to interact with humans and will often seek out boats to surf along with. These playful creatures are incredibly intelligent and curious creatures and the dolphins occasionally come over to greet visitors. Snorkelling and Diving The Sultanate of Oman contains over 530 km2 of coral reefs spread across three bodies of water making it no surprise that its waters are a divers paradise. These coral reefs around Oman support over 100 species of coral and 579 species of reef fish, as well as one of the largest fisheries economies in the region. Diving and Snorkelling in Oman should be right there on top of your to-do list, especially Snorkelling or Diving at the Daymaniyat Islands, a Nature Reserve protected by the Omani government. The area has crystal clear waters with the warm water making for amazing visibility most of the time particularly during the winter months when the temperatures are cooler and less plankton are in the water. At times during the period of October to May the visibility can be up to 30 metres. The waters can range between twenty three degrees Celsius in winter and up to thirty two degrees in the summer. The marine life all around Oman but particularly at Daymaniyat Island, is full of life and colours. There are many hard and soft corals that will stun you and the area is populated with colourful, tropical fish, Nudibranchs, reef fish, different types of turtles, Sharks including Zebra and Black Reef Shark, a variety of rays like Stingrays or Cowtail ray and much more marine life to explore. The dive sites at Ad Daymaniyat Islands are ideal for both newly certified divers as well as advanced divers, with a host of dive sites to choose from, ranging in depth up to thirty metres. Snorkelling enthusiasts leisurely explore the stunning vistas of Oman underwater beauty while watching the marine life go about their usual Sunset dhow cruise. Discover the magic of ancient Arabia when you explore the shoreline on a traditional handcrafted wooden Dhow, a one- or two-masted Arab sailing vessel, usually with lateen rigging which can have slanting, triangular sails. Hop aboard these in the evening for a Sunset Dhow cruise, where you will enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the coast of Muscat. The tours can vary in timing but are generally around two hours and include many exciting sights and experiences. Enjoy the picturesque beauty of Oman seashore over the pristine waters of Oman’s capital area with spectacular views of some landmarks. The Dhows can pass by Al Bustan Palace Hotel, the Sixteenth-century Al Mirani Fort, Jalali and Al Alam Palace amongst other sights. The most exciting part of this
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