The classic landscape associated with Oman, Arabia or the Middle East in general, is that 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 developed 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. It’s a special spot year-round, with many of the best places to visit in Salalah more accessible outside of monsoon season.
Whenever you plan to visit read on to discover the best of Salalah and Dhofar. This guide has everything you need to know about getting there, getting around and where to stay, including spectacular camping spots and accommodation options for every budget.
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Salalah City Beach
As far as city beaches go, this is a pretty 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.
A long stretch of white sand bordered by impressively tall palm trees gives Salalah City Beach an exotic feel
This fisherman and his friend were fishing all night; they pedalled off with their catch an hour after sunrise
A stretch of white sand bordered by impressively
tall palm trees gives the beach an exotic feel
This fisherman and his friend were
fishing all night; they pedalled off
with their catch an hour after sunrise
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.
One of the most picturesque beaches at Fazayah, complete with a dramatic rock formation and backed by spectacular cliffs
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. 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, accompanied by a hauntingly 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.