• THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO SALALAH & DHOFAR

    A camels head against a blue sky background in Salalah, Oman
  • THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO SALALAH & DHOFAR

    A camels head against a blue sky background in Salalah, Oman

THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO SALALAH & DHOFAR

In this guide we cover the best things to see and do in Salalah and Dhofar. We outline everything you need to know about getting there and getting around, and also include recommendations of where to stay ranging from spectacular camping spots to accommodation options for every budget.

The classic landscape associated with Oman, Arabia or the Middle East in general, is one of dry, dusty lands and deserts. But Dhofar, and the area surrounding Salalah in particular, paints an entirely different picture. Thanks to an annual monsoon known as the khareef, the region has a unique ecosystem unlike anywhere else on the Arabian Peninsula. From June to September, winds, rain and fog turn the land green and the air cool. Tourists flock to Salalah from all over Oman and its neighbouring countries, keen to escape the sweltering summer heat and witness this remarkable phenomenon for themselves.

But, it’s not just a destination to visit during the khareef. The area is special year-round, with many of the best places to visit around Salalah more accessible outside of monsoon season. Whenever you plan to visit, read on to discover the best of Salalah and Dhofar.

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SALALAH AND DHOFAR TRAVEL MAP

Use the map below to find everywhere mentioned in this Salalah guide. You can also download this map for offline use with Maps.me. Be sure to download the Maps.Me app first (iOS/Android). Tap the menu button at the top left for more details, to toggle layers on and off, and to switch between satellite and terrain view. You can save this Google map by tapping the star.


WHAT TO SEE & DO IN SALALAH AND DHOFAR

First things first, a trip to Salalah rarely means visiting just Salalah itself. Almost everywhere you’ll want to visit is outside of the city. From pristine beaches to dramatic inland waterfalls, there’s an amazing variety of things to see and do.

IN SALALAH

Salalah City Beach

As far as city beaches go, this is an impressive example. Pure white sand that stretches along the coast for miles. Towering palm trees giving off a distinctive air of the exotic. Dishevelled shacks and low-rise buildings keeping the vibe laidback and genuine. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Zanzibar. It’s a great spot for a day-time picnic, or an evening stroll when the beach comes alive with locals fishing, exercising or just watching the sun go down.

Tall green palm trees on the white sand of Salalah City beach with a blue sky background

A long stretch of white sand bordered by impressively tall palm trees gives Salalah City Beach an exotic feel



Tall green palm trees on the white sand of Salalah City beach with a blue sky background

A stretch of white sand bordered by impressively
tall palm trees gives Salalah beach an exotic feel



WEST OF SALALAH

Fazayah Beaches

Around 70km west of Salalah lie the stunning string of beaches at Fazayah. Tucked in under a towering hillside, the beaches only come into view as you descend the winding road to the coast. Take your pick between wide sweeping stretches of white sand, or intimate coves exposed at low tide. And don’t be surprised if you end up with a few camels for company, they roam this coast freely throughout the day.

Golden sand and turquoise water at Fazayah Beaches in Oman, a distinctive low sea stack poking from the water

One of the most picturesque beaches at Fazayah, complete with a dramatic rock formation and backed by spectacular cliffs



Golden sand and turquoise water at Fazayah Beaches in Oman, a distinctive low sea stack poking from the water

One of the most picturesque beaches at Fazayah



Al Mughsayl Beach & Blowholes

Closer to Salalah, and much more popular, is Al Mughsayl beach. It’s an attractive enough spot with picnic gazebos lining the beach, but it’s not a patch on Fazayah. At the western end of the beach you can walk around the flat rocky area known as Marneef Cave, although it isn’t actually a cave, rather a large overhanging rock. Here you’ll find three grated blowholes that are at their most impressive during the khareef. They are known to spurt water up to 30 metres in the air and come with an eerie soundtrack that will have you wondering if there’s a dragon lurking below. Outside of the monsoon, the calm conditions make the blowholes far less impressive.

  • Hazy sunshine on Mugsayl Beach near Salalah with mountains in the background
  • Hazy sunshine on Mugsayl Beach near Salalah with mountains in the background

A bright and hazy day on Al Mughsayl Beach



Shaat Hidden Beach, Viewpoint & Sinkhole

Lying at the bottom of a long and twisting track, Shaat Hidden Beach is a lovely little pebble and sand bay backed by a small lagoon and flanked by large black rocks. Tucked into the cliffs just south of the beaches at Fazayah, it doesn’t look far on the map but it takes a good 45 minutes to 1 hour in a 4×4 to descend from Shaat clifftop viewpoint to the coast. The rough track passes by small cow farms, with amazing views out to sea at various points along the way, making the drive as much a part of the adventure as the beach itself!

The golden sand of Shaat hidden beach meets turquoise water, with the cliffs lining the coast eastwards in the direction of Salalah

Shaat hidden beach meets turquoise water, with the cliffs lining the coast eastwards to Fazayah



The golden sand of Shaat hidden beach meets turquoise water, with the cliffs lining the coast eastwards in the direction of Salalah

Shaat hidden beach meets turquoise water, with
the cliffs lining the coast eastwards to Fazayah



If you’re short on time or lacking a 4×4, the Shaat viewpoint and sinkhole are both easily accessible from the main road in any vehicle, and require very little walking from the parking areas to be rewarded with a view.

Spectacular views over the blue sea and rocky coast from the Shaat viewpoint, west of Salalah

Spectacular views over the rocky coast from the Shaat viewpoint



Spectacular views over the blue sea and rocky coast from the Shaat viewpoint, west of Salalah

Coastal views from the Shaat viewpoint



Be sure to have your passport and car registration with you for the journey as you will have to go through a military checkpoint on the main road shortly before the turn-off for Shaat.

Mountain Roads & Coastal Villages

If you have plenty of time, it’s possible to continue beyond Shaat all the way to the small town of Dhalkut, around 130 km from Salalah and near the border with Yemen. On the way you can visit more coastal villages like Rakhyut, testing your driving skills on steep switchback roads and taking in the wonderful mountain views. Again, be sure to have your passport and car registration details with you as there are a couple of military checkpoints along the way.

Strange looking goats with patches and neck flaps grazing behind the beach at Dhalkut, to the west of Salalah

Some of the strangest looking goats we’ve ever seen, grazing behind the beach at Dhalkut



Strange looking goats with patches and neck flaps grazing behind the beach at Dhalkut, to the west of Salalah

Some of the strangest looking goats we’ve ever
seen, grazing behind the beach at Dhalkut



Ayn Khor Falls

If you’re visiting Salalah during the khareef, or soon after, the Ayn Khor falls should be flowing. There’s an attractive turquoise pool at the bottom, and lush greenery tumbling down the rock face either side of the falls.

CHECK OUT SALALAH & DHOFAR IN OUR ROAD TRIP VIDEO

NORTH OF SALALAH

Wadi Uyun

This picturesque wadi, around 60km north of Salalah, is a great place to hike, swim or camp. The cliffs here are impressive, rising high above the wadi floor, but an easy 15 minute hike will get you to the bottom. To the right (north) of the car park, head over the small ravine then follow the path along the cliffs and down to the pools. Some are lined with grasses and sedges while others are clearer and better for swimming. It’s a picturesque spot, and one you’ll likely have all to yourself.

Note – not to be confused with Wadi Ayun or similar (check our map for the location)

An emerald green pool below dry orange cliffs at Wadi Uyun north of Salalah

Looking down on the sparkling pools of Wadi Uyun from the cliffs above



An emerald green pool below dry orange cliffs at Wadi Uyun north of Salalah

Looking down on the sparkling pools
of Wadi Uyun from the cliffs above



Wadi Dawkah Frankincense Tree Park

Dhofar has long been praised for producing the finest frankincense in the world. The unique climate and semi-dry land creates the perfect environment for Boswellia trees, the prized resin producers, to grow. Frankincense plays such an important role in Dhofar’s history that The Land of Frankincense is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the four parts of the site is Wadi Dawkah, around 50km north of Salalah. You can visit part of the huge Boswellia Tree plantation, getting up close to inspect the bark and maybe even spot some frankincense resin.

A frankincense tree at a plantation north of Salalah

Frankincense trees north of Salalah



A frankincense tree at a plantation north of Salalah

Frankincense trees north of Salalah



EAST OF SALALAH

Wadi Darbat & The Travertine Curtain

Wadi Darbat is a highlight of any trip to Salalah, remaining green throughout the year. At the upper reaches of the wadi you’ll find a river, the banks of which are lined with trees and, more often than not, grazing camels. There’s even a huge 1000 year old tree, towering above all the others.

The morning sun filters through an impressive 1000 year old tree in Wadi Darbat, a popular place to visit from Salalah

The impressive thousand year old tree



The morning sun filters through an impressive 1000 year old tree in Wadi Darbat, a popular place to visit from Salalah

The impressive thousand year old tree



Further downriver there are a number of small waterfalls and pools, a beautiful spot to relax with a picnic or go for a wander. If the conditions are right, these small falls lead to one big waterfall, rushing over the edge of the travertine curtain. What’s that when it’s at home?! Well, it’s a 150 metre high wall of limestone that’s been eroded by carbon-dioxide rich water to create a bizarre pitted effect. In layman’s terms it looks like a giant melted chocolate ice cream, which has hardened mid-dribble and had random chunks carved out of it. It’s quite incredible.

A person stands looking at the aquamarine rock pools of Wadi Darbat

Above the small waterfalls at Wadi Darbat, admiring the many pools and rock formations



A person stands looking at the aquamarine rock pools of Wadi Darbat

Above the small waterfalls at Wadi Darbat,
admiring the many pools and rock formations



You can get a top-down view over the falls by following the river a short distance from the road – be very careful as there are no barriers and sheer drops. For a safer viewpoint, head to the Darbat Cafe with its terrace overlooking the pools.

To get the best views of the travertine curtain though, it needs to be admired from the bottom. From here you’ll also get a magical view of the waterfall and the various pools below it. There’s a short trail leading from the car park. Follow this and scramble up a few rocky sections until you have a clear view of the waterfall in all its glory.

Note that the amount of water can vary greatly from season to season, and even year to year. The area at the bottom of the curtain could be totally flooded, or practically dry. It’s best not to swim anywhere in the wadi as there have been reports of bilharzia, a nasty parasite that you definitely don’t want.

The waterfall at Wadi Darbat spilling down over the pockmarked rock face that is the travertine curtain

The view from below, waterfall spilling over the Travertine Curtain



The waterfall at Wadi Darbat spilling down over the pockmarked rock face that is the travertine curtain

The view from below, rushing waterfall
spilling over the Travertine Curtain



Tawi Atair Sinkhole

Not far from Wadi Darbat lies one of the biggest sinkholes in the world, measuring 150m wide by 211m deep. It’s a relatively popular stop on tourist itineraries, but most merely wander down to the viewing platform at the edge, glance around, and return to their Landcruiser. Don’t make this mistake! The view from the top is very limited, and I guarantee you’ll leave feeling wholly underwhelmed.

To really experience the sinkhole in all its magical glory, take the rough path down to the right of the viewing platform and just keep going. You’ll descend deeper and deeper into the heart of the sinkhole, all the way to a rusty old platform 130 metres down. From here you can truly appreciate the scale of your surroundings, and hear why it’s known locally as ‘The Well of the Birds’. The symphony of birdsong is quite incredible. Allow at least 1 hour for the return hike.

A person looks out at the yawning chasm of the Tawi Atair sinkhole near Salalah, from a ledge halfway down

Stopping about halfway down Tawi Atair sinkhole to take it all in



A person looks out at the yawning chasm of the Tawi Atair sinkhole near Salalah, from a ledge halfway down

Stopping about halfway down
Tawi Atair sinkhole to take it all in



Tayq Sinkhole

Much wider and more open than Tawi Atair Sinkhole, Tayq Sinkhole offers rewarding views from its rim for little effort, but if you fancy a longer walk, it’s possible to hike down into it where a cave can be found.

From the car park, head to the right and pick up the trail skirting the southern side of the rim. Follow this for about 10 minutes while enjoying wonderful views over the sinkhole, before starting the descent. The trail leads down a narrow rocky path at first, passes through a metal gate, then leads you onto an open hillside. It continues all the way to the bottom, a little steeply at times. Allow around 3 hours for the return walk,  take water with you, and be sure to wear sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing.

The massive expanse of the huge Tayq sinkhole, in the highlands to the east of Salalah

Expansive views of Tayq sinkhole from the trail on the southern rim 



The massive expanse of the huge Tayq sinkhole, in the highlands to the east of Salalah

Expansive views of Tayq sinkhole
from the trail on the southern rim



Jabal Samhan

For fantastic views over the coastline and mountains (or an atmospherically mist-enshrouded view during the khareef), head to the Jabal Samhan viewpoint. From the car park, a good path leads to the left as far as a large natural overhang with benches and plenty of shade. A narrower hiking trail continues further along the cliff side, making this a good spot for a quick stop with a view, or a longer walk. 

The sunlight hitting the top of a mountain ridge on a hazy afternoon, seen from a viewpoint on Jabal Samhan near Salalah

Looking towards the coast from the Jabal Samhan viewpoint 



The sunlight hitting the top of a mountain ridge on a hazy afternoon, seen from a viewpoint on Jabal Samhan near Salalah

Looking towards the coast from
the Jabal Samhan viewpoint



Khor Rori & Ancient Sumhuram

The water from Wadi Darbat eventually makes its way to the sea via the picturesque lagoon of Khor Rori. It’s a favourite spot for flamingos between autumn and spring, and camels at any time. There’s a strip of beach separating the lagoon and the ocean, with small cliffs rising on either side. Nearby is the archaeological site of Sumhuram, an ancient city dating from the 3rd century BC. It is said to have been home to the famed Queen of Sheba, and this area comprises part of the UNESCO recognised Land of Frankincense. It’s a nice spot, worth visiting if you’re in the area.

  • A camel standing in front of a strip of golden sand where Khor Rori meets the sea
  • A camel standing in front of a strip of golden sand where Khor Rori meets the sea

A camel doing not very much at Khor Rori



Mirbat

Once the capital of Dhofar and a busy port trading frankincense, Mirbat is now a sleepy fishing village. It’s an interesting place to wander, admire the old Omani houses, and appreciate the traditional dhow boats. The small whitewashed and dual onion-domed tomb of Bin Ali is visually striking, and the surrounding cemetery has lots of interesting stone-carved headstones. A little outside the village, Mirbat has some attractive white sand beaches too. They’re ideal for a picnic, and if you’re feeling the heat, a refreshing swim.

  • White sand, blue sky and turquoise water at Mirbat Beach north of Salalah
  • White sand, blue sky and turquoise water at Mirbat Beach north of Salalah

A beautiful beach outside of Mirbat



Ayn Athum Falls

Another of Salalah’s waterfalls that appear only after heavy rainfall, Ayn Athum is worth a visit if you’re here during or just after the khareef. A string of falls flow side by side over a curiously formed limestone wall, surrounded by maidenhair ferns, creepers and all manner of greenery. The aquamarine pool below completes the idyllic scene.

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GREATER DHOFAR

Wadi Suneik

Around 200km northeast of Salalah lies an absolute gem of an oasis. Tucked between dramatic mountains and surrounded by lush palms, the aquamarine water of Wadi Suneik (also known as Khor Senaq or Wadi Al Nakheel) snakes its way languidly to the ocean. It’s a remote spot, far from the standard Salalah tourist trail, but easy to access from the main coastal road heading north. It’s the perfect place to camp, picnic, relax and swim.

An aerial view over the green water of Wadi Suneik, mountains towering in the background

The inland view back over Wadi Suneik towards the mountains and the road



An aerial view over the green water of Wadi Suneik, mountains towering in the background

The inland view back over Wadi Suneik
towards the mountains and the road



For the best views you’ll need to swim across the pool to the rocks on the far side. Climb to the top (nothing strenuous) and you’ll be rewarded with an ocean vista, complete with white sand beach separating the wadi water and the sea. You can carry on walking over the rocky ground towards the beach, swimming the last section to reach the sand and sea. There are a number of birds nesting in the grasses lining the pool, so be considerate and stick to any obvious entry points to avoid disturbing them.

On our second visit to Wadi Suneik we were disappointed to find lots of rubbish discarded, despite bins being provided near the entrance to the wadi. Please respect nature and take all your rubbish away with you when visiting this and any other place in Oman or elsewhere!

Coastal & Canyon Viewpoints

Leaving Wadi Suneik, the main road 42 carves its way north through the mountains, an impressive drive leading to some gorgeous viewpoints. The first is a dramatic canyon vista, easily missed as it is hidden just out of sight from the road, so be sure to keep an eye out for the short side road leading to it. If you are driving southbound a brown tourist sign marks the spot, but if you’re heading northbound there is no sign.

A hazy view of a dramatic snaking canyon in a rocky landscape, seen from a viewpoint on the coastal road south to Salalah

The dramatic canyon vista, just look out for the short side road leading off the highway



A hazy view of a dramatic snaking canyon in a rocky landscape, seen from a viewpoint on the coastal road south to Salalah

The dramatic canyon vista, just look out for
the short side road leading off the highway



Around ten minutes’ drive north of the canyon vista you’ll reach another spectacular viewpoint. This one overlooks an endless expanse of pale land and turquoise sea, marking the point where the road leaves the mountains behind and returns to the coast for a while.

  • The long pale dry coast north of Salalah
  • The long pale dry coast north of Salalah

The coastline stretching northward



Wadi Ash Shuwaymiyyah

Near the eastern boundary of Dhofar Governorate lies Wadi Ash Shuwaymiyyah, a gem of a wadi with a beautiful swimming hole, well worth the bumpy detour off the main road. From the coastal village of Shuwaymiyyah, a graded track leads around 11 km through the wide and impressive wadi, with striking rock formations and cliffs rising either side. The track passes a few small farmsteads, eventually leading to a parking area surrounded by palms and lush vegetation. The views across the wadi are wonderful, but the best bit is still hidden out of sight. 

The view down Wadi Ash Shuwaymiyyah, sunlit palm trees in the foreground, dusty coloured dry cliffs disappearing into the distance

The view down Wadi Ash Shuwaymiyyah from the parking area



The view down Wadi Ash Shuwaymiyyah, sunlit palm trees in the foreground, dusty coloured dry cliffs disappearing into the distance

The view down Wadi Ash Shuwaymiyyah



Climb the concrete staircase then follow the falaj through tall grasses to emerge at the hidden pool. It’s small but very scenic, a circular shape with a shallow sinkhole in the middle giving a two-tone water effect.

Rising from the back of the pool and spreading out along the cliff face on either side is fantastical travertine. Much like the travertine curtain at Wadi Darbat, the cliff faces here appear to be made of melting chocolate, with water dripping down to form a waterfall curtain at the back of the pool. It’s an amazing spot for a swim, and you can even pass through the trickling water to a cave-like overhang behind.

A person bathes in Wadi Ash Shuwaymiyyah’s hidden pool, beneath an impressive travertine formation

Wadi Ash Shuwaymiyyah’s hidden pool and impressive travertine backdrop



A person bathes in Wadi Ash Shuwaymiyyah’s hidden pool, beneath an impressive travertine formation

Wadi Ash Shuwaymiyyah’s hidden pool
and impressive travertine backdrop



Rub al Khali Desert (The Empty Quarter)

While Wahiba Sands may be the most famous desert in Oman, Rub al Khali is the greatest. The Empty Quarter stretches across parts of Yemen, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Dhofar Governorate in Oman, covering a staggering 650,000 square kilometres. Its towering orange dunes lie in stark contrast to the verdant mountains and coast surrounding Salalah. If you’re looking for adventure, you’ll certainly find it here. It’s an incredible place to camp and experience the starry night sky with zero light pollution. Sunrise and sunset over this vast expanse of desert takes magic hour to a whole new level.

A man walks across golden sand towards a huge sand dune in the Rub al Khali (Empty Quarter) in Dhofar, southern Oman

Exploring the dunes in the Rub al Khali accompanied by that magic hour glow



A man walks across golden sand towards a huge sand dune in the Rub al Khali (Empty Quarter) in Dhofar, southern Oman

Exploring the dunes in the Rub al Khali
accompanied by that magic hour glow



Be warned though, this isn’t a trip to undertake lightly. If venturing here independently you’ll need a 4×4 full of supplies (including extra fuel), and special equipment to ensure your safety should you get stuck, break down, or have an accident. Ideally, you should visit with at least one buddy vehicle and stick to the main tracks. A tour with knowledgeable locals is a much safer option, and there are plenty departing from Salalah to choose from, including day trips and overnight camping tours. You can browse and book Empty Quarter tour options via Viator.

See More Of Oman

Golden sunrise light hits the wall of the Omani Grand Canyon below Jebel Shams. A 4WD and tent sits on the rim of the canyon.
A 4x4 vehicle drives towards the Western Hajar Mountains on a 1 month Oman road trip.
A orange, yellow and pink sunrise rises over Wadi Bih in the mountains of Musandam, Oman
Diving in Oman
Oman Video: walking on the Sugar Dunes
A beautiful coastal scene from our Oman Road Trip Video
Pinks and yellows light the sky at sunrise in the mountains of Musandam. The flat area shows our campsite where the tent and our Toyota Fortuner gleam in the morning light.
The mirror-like blue surface of Khor Najd stretches into the distance, framed by sandy mountains and cliffs
Golden sunrise light hits the wall of the Omani Grand Canyon below Jebel Shams. A 4WD and tent sits on the rim of the canyon.
A 4x4 vehicle drives towards the Western Hajar Mountains on a 1 month Oman road trip.
A orange, yellow and pink sunrise rises over Wadi Bih in the mountains of Musandam, Oman
Diving in Oman
Oman Video: walking on the Sugar Dunes
A beautiful coastal scene from our Oman Road Trip Video
Pinks and yellows light the sky at sunrise in the mountains of Musandam. The flat area shows our campsite where the tent and our Toyota Fortuner gleam in the morning light.
The mirror-like blue surface of Khor Najd stretches into the distance, framed by sandy mountains and cliffs

WHEN TO VISIT SALALAH

Unlike the rest of Oman which is best travelled between October and April, Salalah is considered a year-round destination. This is entirely thanks to the annual khareef which keeps max temperatures around 27 degrees at the height of summer. As such, July and August are considered peak season for travel in Salalah. Generally speaking, the summer khareef season is popular with domestic or neighbouring country tourists wishing to escape the heat, while the winter months are busier with European tourists seeking the warmth.

Khareef Season

(June to Early September)

Salalah’s landscape is at its most iconic during the monsoon. If you visit between mid-July and early September you’ll witness unique scenes of camels munching on lush vegetation, waterfalls in full flow, and low hanging fog rolling over dramatic escarpments. But don’t expect to have these views to yourself! An average of 30,000 visitors flock to Salalah during this period, largely from other parts of Oman and the Arabian peninsula. That’s a heck of a lot of people, all following a similar itinerary of must-see places. The Salalah Tourism Festival is held between mid-July and late August, with social and cultural events taking place at the Al Murooj Amphitheatre and other locations across the city. 

A camel chewing on some branches near Salalah in Dhofar, Oman

This camel is still dreaming about the vast quantities of vegetation it ate during the khareef



A camel chewing on some branches near Salalah in Dhofar, Oman

This camel is still dreaming about the vast
quantities of vegetation it ate during the khareef



Inland sights like Wadi Darbat, Ayn Khor and Ayn Athum are all great to experience during the khareef, just don’t forget your bug spray! Coastal spots on the other hand, are pretty much off limits.The region is subject to such strong winds and wild seas that beaches can only be enjoyed safely from a distance. If you’re dreaming of picture perfect beaches of white sand and blue seas, don’t visit Salalah during the khareef.

Near constant drizzle, fog and wind makes camping around Salalah far less enjoyable during this time too. Hotels are a better bet, but the prices are considerably higher than usual given the peak season demand.

Post-Khareef

(Mid-September to Early October)

Visiting just after the monsoon season can be a good time as the crowds are smaller and fewer, but there’s still plenty of greenery around and the waterfalls are likely still flowing.

October to May

With generally calm weather, clear skies, and pleasant temperatures, October to February is a great time to visit Salalah if you want to go hiking or camping, or to explore its beautiful beaches. There’s no guarantee the wadis will have water in them, so don’t expect to see flowing waterfalls or beautiful blue pools, although the closer your visit is to the end of the khareef season, the better chance you’ll have. Likewise, the lush green hillsides will start fading, but places like Wadi Darbat are usually fairly green all year-round.

It can get cool at night between December and February, especially so in the mountains. This is also the driest time of year. March to May sees temperatures and humidity rising, with some spring showers and increasing wind. 

Fazayah Beach near Salalah at sunrise with soft golden tones

Clear skies, calm weather and sunny mornings on the coast in December



Fazayah Beach near Salalah at sunrise with soft golden tones

Clear skies, calm weather and sunny
mornings on the coast in December



There is a higher chance of cyclones developing in the Arabian Sea both pre and post monsoon, from May to June and October to November. These have had catastrophic impacts on Salalah in recent years and any tropical storm warnings should be fully heeded.

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HOW TO GET AROUND SALALAH & DHOFAR

There are no public transport options enabling you to visit all the best bits that Salalah and Dhofar have to offer. The local bus only really services the area between Salalah Port and the airport, via the city centre. Therefore, to get the most out of your trip you either need to hire a vehicle or join a tour.

Vehicle Hire

Many of the best places to visit in Salalah an be reached with a 2WD. However, if you want to explore the mountain roads to the west, head into the Rub al Khali, or have the freedom to go off-road (in what is a very off-roadable country) then a 4WD is necessary. You can arrange to pick up and drop off a vehicle at Salalah airport, or in Muscat if you plan on making the long drive south.

We always use Holiday Autos to hire our vehicle and have done so three times already in Oman. They offer the best prices from a variety of companies. They’re also very transparent when it comes to exactly what is and isn’t included. Additionally, they usually include free cancellation up to 24-48 hours before pick-up too.

Be sure to check in advance if you need any special documents, for example an international driving permit. Also, check to see if your travel insurance policy can cover rental car excess – it may work out cheaper than taking out extra cover through the car hire company directly. World Nomads and True Traveller  both have options to include this.

You can get a quote and book your vehicle hire below.

Search Car Hire Options Here


Tours

If you can’t or don’t want to drive yourself, a tour is the next best option. This could be a private or group tour and there are loads to choose from. They cover west, north and east of Salalah, including Wadi Darbat, The Empty Quarter, Fazayah Beaches, Tawi Atair Sinkhole and more. Viator has the greatest range of tours to choose from, with a few more options on Get Your Guide.


WHERE TO STAY IN SALALAH

BEST SALALAH ACCOMMODATION

Salalah has a range of accommodation options, from budget oriented hotels and apartments to luxury resorts. Prices are always higher during the peak khareef season. Budget options can be found in the city centre, with resorts generally spread along the coast to the east and west.

Budget Salalah Accommodation

A few centrally located budget options to check out are Grand Flora Hotel, Evan Hotel, and Star Emirates Down Town.

Mid-Range Salalah Accommodation

Luxury Salalah Accommodation

A number of luxury resorts can be found along the coast near Salalah, most with a private beach to enjoy. Some great options include the Crowne Plaza Resort Salalah, Salalah Rotana Resort, Souly Ecolodge Salalah, and Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara.

Find Your Perfect Salalah Accommodation

Booking.com

BEST SALALAH CAMPING

As with everywhere in Oman, there are amazing camping opportunities to be had in the Salalah area and greater Dhofar. We’ve spent a couple of weeks camping in the region, enjoying some of our favourite camp spots in the whole country at Fazayah Beach and Wadi Suneik. Camping is best outside the monsoon season, when it’s too wet, windy and buggy. Dhofar has a wide variety of landscapes, from deserts and wadis to beaches and mountains. Some recommended spots to camp include Fazayah Beach, Wadi Darbat, Wadi Uyun, Rub al Khali, Wadi Suneik, and Wadi Ash Shuwaymiyyah. 

A tent pitched on Fazayah Beach near Salalah

The perfect camping conditions on the beaches at Fazayah



A tent pitched on Fazayah Beach near Salalah

Perfect camping conditions on Fazayah Beach



For more info on camping in Oman in general, including what you need, how to find camp spots, and how to camp responsibly and safely, check out our full guide to an Oman camping road trip.

CHECK OUT OUR DETAILED OMAN ITINERARIES

HOW TO GET TO SALALAH

Salalah is in the far south of Oman, over 1000 kilometres from Muscat. There are three main options for getting there – flight, bus, or self-drive.

Flights To Salalah

You can fly direct to Salalah from Muscat. There are also a few international flights from places such as Dubai, Kozhikode (near Kochi in India), Doha and Sharjah. Some airlines add seasonal direct flights during the peak khareef season, including Etihad from Abu Dhabi and Gulf Air from Bahrain. European airlines Neos (from Milan, Verona and Rome) and Smartwings (from Prague, Bratislava, Katowice and Warsaw) operate seasonal direct flights during winter.


Public Bus To Salalah

You can travel by public bus to Salalah from Muscat and Dubai, as well as Nizwa. The journey takes between 10-12 hours from Muscat and 16 hours from Dubai. The two main companies are Gulf Transport Company (operating the Dubai and Muscat routes) and Mwasalat (operating in Oman only). There are regular stops for praying, eating and toilets.

Mwasalat

Mwasalat runs three buses a day between Muscat and Salalah, and more during the peak khareef season. Check the route info and timetables here. Fares are OR8/13 one way/return. 

Gulf Transport Company

Gulf Transport Company operates around 8 buses a day between Muscat and Salalah. They run between 7am and 8pm with a break in the afternoon. Times seem to change regularly so it’s best to buy your tickets at least 1 day in advance, in cash. Info isn’t easy to come by online, but a timetable photo added to Google Maps has these departure times listed for Salalah to Muscat. From Muscat to Salalah a timetable photo added to Google Maps shows these departure times. Check our map at the top of this guide for the bus station locations in Salalah and Muscat. Fares are OR7/13 one way/return.

Gulf Transport Company operates one bus a day between Dubai and Salalah in each direction. From Dubai the bus departs Dubai Deira at 3pm, arriving in Salalah at 7am the following morning. From Salalah, the bus also departs at 3pm, arriving in Dubai at 7am the following morning. Fares are OR10/18 one way/return. 

Self-Drive To Salalah

If you’re up for an Oman road trip, Salalah is well connected to the rest of the country by excellent infrastructure. The most direct route linking Dhofar with the north of the country goes through the middle, via Haima. It’s over 1000 km and about 10 hours straight driving. The more scenic route traverses the coast, taking much longer with multiple detour options. If you’re planning a round-trip from Muscat, you could make a loop travelling south via one road and north via the other.

Notable places to visit if you’re planning a trip along the coast include Masirah Island, the Sugar Dunes at Al Khaluf, Wahiba Sands and Ras al Hadd

If you’re driving from the UAE, you’ll probably find the border crossing at Al Ain/Mezyad to be the most convenient. Follow the main road towards Nizwa before heading south through the middle of Oman. Make sure you have the correct travel and insurance documents. And if you’re in a hire car, check that cross-border travel is allowed.

WANT TO KNOW THE COUNTRY’S FINEST CAMP SPOTS?

Oman Visa

Be sure to check your visa requirements in advance. As far as we are aware, GCC citizens can travel to Oman visa-free. Citizens of 103 other countries can visit Oman visa-free for up to 14 days. You must have proof of a return flight within 14 days, a confirmed hotel booking, and health insurance. Many nationalities can also apply in advance for an e-visa for a single entry trip of up to 30 days (OR20), or a multiple entry 1 year visa which is valid for stays of up to 30 days at a time (OR50). You can find out more about visas and apply online here.

THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO SALALAH & DHOFAR

We hope you’ve found this guide to Salalah and Dhofar useful. It’s a fascinating region in a country just waiting to be explored. If you have any questions at all, get in touch via the comments below. Happy travels!

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Salalah and Dhofar Guide

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Going the Whole HoggMusan Recent comment authors
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Musan
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I must say you’re one of the fortunate ones who got a chance to visit Salalah Oman. Though it is a scenic place, not many people visit it. I’m sure you’ve noticed this difference as well. It’s too complicated to get Salalah from Dubai otherwise tourism would have grown there.

The Essential Guide To Salalah And Dhofar
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