• THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO MUSANDAM

    Sunset in Musandam mountains Wadi Bihi
  • THE ESSENTIAL MUSANDAM GUIDE

    Sunset in Musandam mountains Wadi Bihi

THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO MUSANDAM

Musandam is a special place. Part of Oman, but surrounded by the UAE, it has a unique geography, culture and history that sets it apart from its Arabian neighbours. Jutting out into the narrow Strait of Hormuz, Musandam’s jagged coastline has earned it the nickname ‘Norway of Arabia’. While its fjords are indeed impressive, the expansive Musandam mountains are equally worthy of exploration. Hiking, snorkelling, diving, camping, off-roading, and relaxation opportunities abound. Whether you’re planning a weekend trip from Dubai, or a week long adventure, Musandam is the perfect place to immerse yourself in nature and traditional Omani culture.

Khasab is the regional capital of the Musandam Governorate, and the majority of things to see and do in Musandam are around this northern area. Dibba (Daba) Al-Baya is a smaller province, located in the south of Musandam. This area is perhaps most notable as the location of the Six Senses Zighy Bay Resort. While the two regions are technically connected via a mountain road, only Omanis are permitted access, making it impossible to drive between them without having to exit Oman and re-enter via the UAE. Additionally, Madha is part of Musandam, but is enclaved by the UAE. For these reasons, most people focus on just one region, with the Khasab area offering the best variety of things to see and do in Musandam.


MUSANDAM MAP

Use the map below to find all the places mentioned in this guide

WHAT TO SEE & DO IN MUSANDAM

From cruising the fjordlands to fossil hunting, there’s a surprising amount to see and do in Musandam. Some areas can be explored independently with a 2 or 4WD, while less accessible areas will require you to hire a boat or join a tour.

MUSANDAM COAST

Khasab Coastal Road

Crossing the border at Ras Al Khaimah, the differences between the UAE and Oman are immediately apparent. Leaving a world of industry, highrises and construction behind, a rugged expanse of mountain and sea views extend before you. Low-rise traditional houses clustered in small villages line the entrances to wadis on your right, while stretches of attractive beaches come and go to your left. The coastal road to Khasab has literally been blasted out of the mountainside, a stretch of smooth tarmac tucked between soaring ochre layered cliffs and unspoilt coastline. It’s a pleasure to drive and offers numerous opportunities to stop at beaches, old forts and scenic viewpoints along the way.

Al Jadi Beach in Musandam at sunset, sheer limestone cliffs rising behind the beach and coastal road

Limestone cliffs of Musandam rising above the curving coastal road, behind the beach at Al Jadi



Al Jadi Beach in Musandam at sunset, sheer limestone cliffs rising behind the beach and coastal road

Limestone cliffs of Musandam rising above the
curving coastal road, behind the beach at Al Jadi



Bukha is the largest town between the border and Khasab, with an impressive mosque and old fort. Around 6 km beyond lies an attractive stretch of beach, perfect for camping, picnics or watching a magical sunset. Rounding the headland, the road climbs briefly and turns south towards Khasab, offering wonderful views over the Strait of Hormuz. You’ll wind your way around little inlets and past Bassa Beach, another popular picnic spot, before reaching the regional hub of Khasab.

The mosque at Bukha in Musandam, glowing golden in the morning sun

The mosque at Bukha, glowing golden in the early morning sun



The mosque at Bukha in Musandam, glowing golden in the morning sun

The mosque at Bukha, glowing
golden in the early morning sun



Fjords Dhow Cruise

To fully appreciate the beauty of the fjordlands around Khasab, you need to take to the water. Numerous half day, full day and even overnight dhow cruise options are available, sailing out of Khasab harbour. Dhows are traditional wooden fishing boats, usually with an open deck kitted out with cushions for lounging around on, plus a shaded area. Some have two or even three levels. While you’ll still see dhows used for fishing throughout Oman, these are all used solely for tourism and are pretty comfortable and atmospheric.

A dhow boat cruises around the rocky sandstone coast in the Musandam Fjords of Oman

A dhow boat cruises around the sun-kissed ‘fjords’ of Musandam



A dhow boat cruises around the rocky sandstone coast in the Musandam Fjords of Oman

A dhow boat cruises around the
sun-kissed ‘fjords’ of Musandam



Most tours follow a similar itinerary: cruise into Khor Ash Shamm, stop at Maqlab ‘Telegraph’ Island for a snorkel, then return to Khasab. The island’s nickname dates from its use as a telegraph booster station in the 1860s for the cable route between Bombay and London. You’ll pass small villages clinging to the cliff sides and no doubt encounter dolphins along the way. If you opt for a full day trip, lunch on the boat is usually included and you’ll get to explore at a more relaxed pace. Check if snorkelling equipment is included or if you need to bring your own. You can compare options and book your trip easily on Viator or Get Your Guide.

Khasab Castle

One of the few actual ‘tourist sites’ in Musandam, Khasab Castle is well worth a visit if you’re interested in learning about the history and unique culture of the area.

Originally established by the Portuguese in the early 17th Century, it soon changed hands and has been periodically modified and restored over the centuries. Today it houses a fascinating museum, detailing all manner of history, culture and customs pertaining to the region. You can climb up the tower and wander around the various rooms. There are numerous boats on display in the courtyard, including a traditional dhow with wood sewn together in a custom unique to the area. There’s also examples of traditional palm leaf and Bait al-Qufl (House of the Lock) structures, again specific to Musandam. 

The drum tower of Khasab Castle in the afternoon sun

The drum tower of Khasab Castle in the afternoon sun



The wood of the dhow boat sewn together in the traditional fashion

The local boat sewing tradition



The drum tower of Khasab Castle in the afternoon sun

The tower of Khasab Castle in the afternoon sun


The wood of the dhow boat sewn together in the traditional fashion

Wood panels of a dhow boat sewn
together in the traditional fashion



Rocky Beach

Our favourite beach in Musandam, this secluded little spot is perfect for escaping the crowds (if there are any). Hidden away at the bottom of a steep and winding dirt track near Harf village, it’s best accessed with a 4WD, but a 2WD can handle it if you’re careful.

Rocky Beach in Musandam, turquoise water lapping a pebble beach surrounded by golden limestone cliffs

Morning view from the best camping area at the northern end of Rocky beach



Rocky Beach in Musandam, turquoise water lapping a pebble beach surrounded by golden limestone cliffs

Morning view from the best camping
area at the northern end of Rocky beach



The small beach, a mixture of rocks and sand, sits snuggly between towering cliffs of layered limestone that plunge right into the sea. There’s a graveyard behind, and a couple of fresh water tanks which are filled up by boat once a week. You can swim in the clear water of the Arabian Gulf surrounded by colourful fish, and rest in the shade of the makeshift palm leaf shelter by the tanks. This also makes for the perfect camp spot, where chances are your only company will be a few goats.

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Khor Najd

The view over Khor Najd, complete with switchback road winding steeply to the coast, is a Musandam classic. You can reach the viewpoint in a 2WD, although the descent to the shore is best tackled in a 4WD.

  • The cobalt blue perfectly still Khor Najd in Musandam, Oman, the surrounding mountains reflected in the water
  • The cobalt blue perfectly still Khor Najd in Musandam, Oman, the surrounding mountains reflected in the water

The spectacular view over Khor Najd



This is a popular spot for family picnics, camping, and fishing. Expect it to be busy, especially at the weekend or during national Oman or UAE holidays. There are fresh water tanks here too, and plenty of space to pitch up either close to the shore, or set back towards the cliffs. While the setting is no doubt spectacular, we couldn’t help but feel the view from the top is better than the reality at the bottom and it was our least favourite camp spot in Musandam (granted, we were there during a very busy period).

Sal Ala Acacia Forest

There’s an acacia forest (a rare sight in these parts!) at the end of the main road heading south from Khasab, about 7 km beyond the turn off for Khor Najd. It makes for an interesting side trip if you’re already making the journey to the fjord, or a good choice if you’re looking for a nice 2WD accessible picnic spot and a chance to do some hiking.

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Tawi Village & Petroglyphs

Some of Musandam’s best preserved and numerous petroglyphs can be found in Tawi village. It’s just a few kilometres up Wadi Qida, and if you’re in a 2WD, these are far more accessible than the ones found in the mountains near Jabal Harim (mentioned below). Turn off from the main Khasab Coastal Road, a little west of Bassa Beach, and head up the road for 2.6 km. You’ll see a collection of large boulders on the left before you reach the end of the road. Here you’ll find carvings depicting hunters on horseback, boats, wild animals and more. The village itself is picturesque too, with old wooden doors, roaming goats and steep cliffs rising all around.

Petroglyph of hunter on horseback on rock in Tawi Village in Musandam

Petroglyph of a hunter on horseback in Tawi Village



A goat standing in front of an old blue door in the frame of a derelict building in Tawi Village in Musandam

Goats always know how to pose



Petroglyph of hunter on horseback on rock in Tawi Village in Musandam

Hunter on horseback petroglyph in Tawi Village


A goat standing in front of an old blue door in the frame of a derelict building in Tawi Village in Musandam

Goats always know how to pose



MUSANDAM MOUNTAINS

If you’ve got your own 4WD, you’re in for a treat. Otherwise, the only way to get a taste of the spectacular Musandam mountains is by joining a tour, as the roads are impossible to access in a 2WD. There’s a lot of exploring to be done along the main mountain road south of Khasab. That road extends all the way to Dibba (also spelt Daba), although as previously noted, you can’t get beyond the checkpoint in Wadi Bih unless you’re an Omani national. If you’ve only got a day or two to spend in the mountains, make this area your focus. If you have longer, the Harf Plateau is another great area to get off-road.

Khasab to Dibba Mountain Road Information Board on the gravel road to the mountains

The information board at the start of the mountain road south of Khasab



Khasab to Dibba Mountain Road Information Board on the gravel road to the mountains

The information board at the start of
the mountain road south of Khasab



KHASAB – DABA MOUNTAIN ROAD

As Sayh Plateau

Turning off the paved road south of Khasab onto the 4WD only mountain road towards Daba, the first scenic spot you’ll come to is the fertile As Sayh Plateau. It’s lush and green in winter: wheat and alfalfa fields mixed with palm groves stretch out for a couple of kilometres. 

Looking back down on the green fields of the As Sayh Plateau from the mountain road, dusty brown mountains rising around it

The green fields of the fertile As Sayh Plateau as seen from the mountain road above it



Looking back down on the green fields of the As Sayh Plateau from the mountain road, dusty brown mountains rising around it

The green fields of the fertile As Sayh Plateau
as seen from the mountain road above it



There’s a small settlement of houses, some hard to distinguish from the rocky hillsides they’re built into. It’s a beautiful spot, hidden away in a seemingly hostile dry land.

As Sayh Plateau green field and hillside houses

The lush fields of the As Sayh Plateau seeming almost magical among the dry ground



The lush fields of the As Sayh Plateau seeming
almost magical among the dry and stony ground



UAE and Stairway To Heaven Viewpoints

Turning right up the tracks from As Sayh will lead you to some fantastic viewpoints overlooking the UAE, as well as the Stairway To Heaven hike. You’ll need to get out and walk a bit for the best views, then return to the main track to carry on exploring.

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Fossils and Petroglyphs

When tectonic plates collided millions of years ago, they formed both the Zagros Mountains in Iran and the towering cliffs of Musandam. Predominantly limestone, these mountains in Musandam are much older than the Hajar Mountains in ‘mainland’ Oman. The varied colours and clearly visible layers of these hulking brutes are simply mesmerising. But they’re also home to fascinating treasures of the past, as long as you know where to look. If you hunt around on the rocks above the As Sayh Plateau, you’ll find numerous fossils confirming that this area was indeed once under the sea. And further up the road, near a military helipad, you’ll find petroglyphs depicting hunters and wild animals. These rock carvings are believed to date back to before 600 BC. The views are pretty incredible, too. 

We’ve marked the spots on our map to help you find them.

Fossils in exposed bare rock in the mountains of Musandam, Oman

Fossils exposed in bare rock above the As Sayh Plateau



Ancient petroglyphs of human figures on bare rock in the mountains of Musandam, Oman

These petroglyphs are believed to be over 2,500 years old



Fossils in exposed bare rock in the mountains of Musandam, Oman

Exposed fossils above the As Sayh Plateau


Ancient petroglyphs of human figures on bare rock in the mountains of Musandam, Oman

These petroglyphs of human figures
are believed to be over 2,500 years old



Wadi Bih Road

Jabal Harim (that big mountain with a military installation on top) is the highest in Musandam at 2087m. You can’t actually drive to the top (due to said military facility), and if you’re on an organised ‘mountain safari’ tour this is likely where you’ll turn around. But if you’ve got your own wheels, the best is yet to come. 

Continuing on the road, with the peak to your left, the view laid out before you at the pass is utterly spectacular. Look closely and you’ll spot the road, hugging the mountainside, then twisting across a broad finger of land before dropping down to Wadi Bih. The odd house and pockets of cultivated green land cut into terraced fields complete the scene. It’s only 18km to the wadi bed, but don’t be surprised if it takes you an hour or more. The views will have you stopping constantly, and the terrain requires careful driving.

Wadi Bih Mountain Road in Musandam, snaking away across the rocky barren plateau

Snaking across the rocky mountainside, the incredible Wadi Bih mountain road



Wadi Bih Mountain Road in Musandam, snaking away across the rocky barren plateau

The incredible Wadi Bih mountain road,
snaking across the rocky mountainside



If you’re planning to camp, you’ll find one of our all time favourite spots 4km from the pass. Otherwise just pull off the road and admire the view before descending to the wadi bed.

A orange, yellow and pink sunrise rises over Wadi Bih in the mountains of Musandam, Oman

Sunrise views over Wadi Bih from one of our absolute favourite camp spots


A orange, yellow and pink sunrise rises over Wadi Bih in the mountains of Musandam, Oman

Sunrise views over Wadi Bih from one
of our absolute favourite camp spots



WILD CAMP SPOTS IN OMAN

A’Rowdhah Bowl

Continuing straight over Wadi Bih and up Wadi A’Rowdhah at the small Qad Qad village, you’ll reach an expansive flat bowl surrounded by mountains. There are a couple of interesting cemeteries followed by a bizarre section of perfect tarmac road skirting the edge. The road curves around the wide open space, past numerous acacia trees, scattered houses and even an air strip. It’s a lovely spot for a picnic and a good place to camp. There’s every chance you’ll see camels roaming too.

A'Rowdhah Bowl trees surrounded by the Musandam Mountains

The perfect shaded picnic spot in the A’Rowdhah Bowl



Camels in A'Rowdhah Bowl, walking on rocky ground with hazy mountains in the distance

Camels on the move



A'Rowdhah Bowl trees surrounded by the Musandam Mountains

The perfect picnic spot in the A’Rowdhah Bowl


Camels in A'Rowdhah Bowl, walking on rocky ground with hazy mountains in the distance

Camels on the move



A’Rowdhah Bowl to Limah Mountain Road

Beyond A’Rowdhah the brief section of tarmac ends. A steep switchback road heads up and over the mountains towards the coastal village of Limah. The views are, like most around here, spectacular. When we attempted the route in December 2018 we could only get so far, as part of the road on the descent to Limah was under construction. However, while still rough going, we believe the construction work is more or less complete now and it’s possible to drive to Limah. But even if you’re not planning to drive all the way, having made it as far as A’Rowdhah, it’s worth continuing up to the pass at least. There you’ll be rewarded with views back down over the bowl and out to the coast.

Note that you’ll need to retrace your route to get back to the main road so be sure to have enough fuel, water, food, etc.

View from Musandam mountains to Limah at the coast on a hazy day (M)

Looking down towards Limah and the coast from the mountain pass above A’Rowdhah



View from Musandam mountains to Limah at the coast on a hazy day (M)

Looking down towards Limah and the coast
from the mountain pass above A’Rowdhah



HARF PLATEAU

For wonderful views over the Arabian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, head up the Harf Plateau. This off-road route runs roughly parallel to the Khasab coastal road, but high above on the top of those cliffs you’ve no doubt been admiring.

Parked up on the Harf Plateau in Musandam, looking out to a hazy view of the Strait of Hormuz

Parked up on the Harf Plateau with views of the Arabian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz



Parked up on the Harf Plateau in Musandam, looking out to a hazy view of the Strait of Hormuz

Parked up on the Harf Plateau with views
of the Arabian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz



You can access the road from the village of Harf. There are mountain villages to explore, like Herat, and numerous hiking trails leading to abandoned villages and ruins (although none officially marked). The views down over the beaches and villages are great, and there’s plenty of good spots for camping. 

  • Looking down to the coast from Harf Plateau under stormy atmospheric skies
  • Looking down to the coast from Harf Plateau under stormy atmospheric skies

Looking down from the Harf Plateau towards
Al Jadi and Bukha under atmospheric stormy skies



DIVING MUSANDAM

Great scuba diving sites are found all over Oman and Musandam is no exception. The main dive hubs are Khasab and Dibba. If you’re looking to include some diving as part of a general Musandam trip, arranging a couple of dives with an operator in Khasab is ideal. If diving is the main purpose of your trip to Musandam, you may want to opt for Dibba, where you can also arrange overnight dive trips. 

Whale shark season is May to October, with September to January considered the best season for diving. February and March can be pretty choppy and windy. Visibility is unpredictable, with the nutrient rich Strait of Hormuz offering anywhere between 5 and 20 metres visibility. 

A couple of companies that come recommended are Musandam Discovery Diving, based in Khasab, and Sheesa Beach, based in Dibba.

SEE MORE OF OMAN

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

WHERE TO STAY IN MUSANDAM

Accommodation in Musandam is fairly limited, centred in and around Khasab, or Dibba. Camping is a great alternative if you have your own gear and transport. Overnight dhow cruises are also an option, and offer a unique experience.

Khasab Accommodation

As is the case all over Oman, budget accommodation is hard to come by in Musandam. Khasab has limited hotels to choose from, with prices around $90 – $200 for a double room. Lake Hotel is the cheapest, with rooms from around $55. Other options include Ahlam Musandam Villa, Ahlam Villa Musandam, Khasab Hotel, Diwan Al Amir, Esra Hotel Apartment, and the pricier Atana Khasab Hotel and Atana Musandam Resort. There are also a couple of established beach campsites you can book which include all of your meals, camping equipment, etc.

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Dibba Accommodation

Six Senses Zighy Bay is by far the most famous luxury resort in the region, with Dibba Beach Resort a slightly more affordable option.

Camping Musandam

Oman is the perfect place for a camping road trip, and Musandam has loads of great spots to pitch up. From beaches to mountains, we spent a week camping around Musandam and have detailed a couple of our very favourite spots in this guide. We’ve also marked numerous possible camp spots for you on the map above to help you find the perfect place whether you’re in a 2WD or 4×4. 

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.

One of our all time favourite camp spots, on the mountain road above Wadi Bih



Pinks and yellows light the sky at sunrise in the mountains of Musandam. The flat area shows our campsite where our Toyota Fortuner gleam in the morning light.

One of our all time favourite camp spots,
on the mountain road above Wadi Bih



As with everywhere in Oman, camping is of the ‘wild’ variety, ie. there are no official campsites (besides the fully inclusive ones mentioned in the Khasab accommodation section above). This means there are no facilities like toilets, water, sinks, etc., so it’s imperative that you follow the Leave No Trace principles when camping in Musandam. 

For more practical camping info, check out our complete guide to camping in Oman. Note that there’s a Lulu Hypermarket in Khasab, a great place to stock up on food and supplies. For fuel, there are petrol stations in both Bukha and Khasab.

Overnight Dhow Cruises

For a truly unique Musandam experience, why not sleep out under the stars on a traditional dhow boat? You’ll have the chance to see dolphins, snorkel around Telegraph Island, eat dinner on board, and then sleep out on the wooden deck. Pretty idyllic! 


Or this option with Musandam Sea Adventure also includes a mountain safari the following day, visiting the As Sayh Plateau, Jabal Harim, Khor Najd and the Acacia Forest. It’s a great option if you’re short on time and want to see the very best of Musandam, or don’t have your own 4WD.

People snorkelling in the aquamarine water round Telegraph Island in the waters off the coast of Musandam

Stopping off and snorkelling around Telegraph Island while on a dhow boat cruise


People snorkelling in the aquamarine water round Telegraph Island in the waters off the coast of Musandam

Stopping off and snorkelling around
Telegraph Island on a dhow boat cruise



WHEN TO VISIT MUSANDAM

The best time to visit Musandam is between November and March. Day time temperatures are a pleasant 25-30 °C, with those at night time dropping to around 20 °C.

Sunset hues above the twinkling lights of Bukha, seen from Al Jadi Beach in Musandam

A beautiful evening on Al Jadi Beach in early December, as the sun sets and the lights of Bukha spring to life



Sunset hues above the twinkling lights of Bukha, seen from Al Jadi Beach in Musandam

A beautiful evening on Al Jadi Beach in early
December, as the lights of Bukha spring to life



The summer months (June to August) can be unbearably hot throughout Oman (apart from in monsoon cooled Salalah). In Musandam, summer temperatures push 40 °C and rarely drop below 30 °C. So unless you’re planning to camp in the mountains (about 8 °C cooler), it’s best to avoid these months. 

April, May, September and October can still be pretty hot, making it uncomfortable for beach camping or hiking. 

As Musandam is accessed most easily from the UAE, it’s a popular weekend or holiday getaway for many locals and expat residents in Dubai and elsewhere. Be sure to check both Oman and UAE public holiday dates if you want to avoid the crowds.

HOW TO GET AROUND MUSANDAM

As there are no public transport options or taxis in Musandam, the only way to get around is in your own vehicle or on a tour. You can bring your own car (or a rental) by road from the UAE, or on the car ferry from Shinas (more details below). Alternatively, you can hire a car in Khasab; no big name rental companies operate there, just a few local affairs. You can find some phone numbers and email addresses via a Google search if you want to try and confirm a car in advance.

As for tours, the two common itineraries cover a fjord dhow cruise, and an off-road mountain trip to Jabal Harim, the As Sayh Plateau, Khor Najd and a few other spots. Many tour operators offer Dubai pick up and drop offs too. You can search and book various options on Viator or Get Your Guide.

HOW TO GET TO MUSANDAM

You can get to Musandam by air, sea, or land. Your chosen mode of transport will likely depend on where you’re coming from, and your plans once you get to Musandam.

Fly To Musandam

There is a daily flight from Muscat to Khasab (and back) with Oman Air. It takes around 1 hour. This is the only flight option and obviously makes most sense if you are coming from Muscat. It’s a small regional plane, with a 20kg luggage limit. For the best views, try to sit on the left flying to Khasab or the right to Muscat. As you will be flying domestically, you won’t need to worry about multi-entry Oman visas or paying extra for cross border car rental insurance, etc. As noted above, there is no public transport in Musandam, so it’s best to arrange a tour or car hire in order to get around once you land.

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Ferry To Musandam

The National Ferries Company runs a car ferry service from Shinas (in the north of Oman near the border with the UAE) to Dibba, Limah and Khasab. The direct Muscat – Khasab ferry no longer runs. You can however book a combo bus/ferry ticket to get from Muscat to Shinas return with Mwasalat bus company. 

The ferries do not run every day. You can check the current schedules on the NFC website. This is a scenic way to travel, the 4 hour journey from Shinas to Khasab passing by the stunning Musandam coast. Taking the ferry also has the benefit of no border control hassle or extra visa costs. However it is fairly expensive, especially when taking a rental car with you, and it may work out more expensive than just driving. You can make reservations by phone or email with NFC, or book via a local travel agency.

Drive To Musandam

If you’re coming from the UAE, driving to Musandam is certainly the easiest option. If you’re planning a trip from ‘mainland’ Oman, driving is also possible, but there are extra considerations given that you must exit and re-enter Oman via the UAE.

UAE to Musandam Border Crossings

The main border crossing is at Al Dhara/Tibat, near Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE. It’s a fairly straightforward process, but it can get busy at weekends or on public holidays. As far as we’re aware, to cross the border to Daba/Dibba you must be a GCC national or a resident of the UAE. If you’re an expat resident of Oman, or a tourist, you need to have a letter and confirmed booking in order to cross this border, from Six Senses Zighy Bay, Golden Tulip Dibba or a Dibba based tour company. It’s a good idea to check this directly with the hotel/tour company before confirming any travel plans.

Oman to UAE Border Crossings

If you’re planning on driving from ‘mainland’ Oman to Musandam, you’ll need to cross into the UAE, then back into Oman at either the Ras Al Khaimah or Dibba borders. There are numerous border crossings between the UAE and ‘mainland’ Oman, and with the limited information available, it’s a little confusing which ones you can use as non-GCC residents or nationals. Saying that, we (tourists on British passports) crossed with no problems at the Khatmat Malahah border post on the east coast between Shinas (Oman) and Fujairah (UAE), and also at the Mezyad/Hafeet border post south of Al Ain.

A 4WD and a tent between two trees at dusk on a beach in northeastern Oman

Camping for the night in northeastern ‘mainland’ Oman while driving to Musandam via the U.A.E.



A 4WD and a tent between two trees at dusk on a beach in northeastern Oman

Camping for the night in northeastern ‘mainland’
Oman while driving to Musandam via the U.A.E.



Cross Border Rental Car & insurance

If you’re hiring a rental car in the UAE or Oman, make sure you are allowed to cross into the other country. You will be able to confirm this with your rental company before booking. You will also need to ensure you have the correct car insurance for crossing into the other country. We arranged our Oman rental car through Holiday Autos, ensuring cross border travel into the UAE was permitted in advance. When we picked up our car we advised the staff of the dates we planned to be in the UAE. They then arranged the insurance documents for us to collect the following day, costing an additional 25 OMR.

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VISAS FOR OMAN

Ensure you have the correct visa to suit your itinerary. If you fly or take the ferry from Oman to Musandam, without entering the UAE, you will only require a single entry visa. However, if you drive via the UAE, you’ll require a multi-entry visa or have to purchase multiple single entry visas. 

Fortunately, the visa process is straightforward, with many nationalities eligible for an e-Visa. Single entry visas are granted for certain nationalities for 10 days (5 OMR) or 30 days (20 OMR). A 1 year multi-entry visa is valid for stays of up to 30 days (50 OMR). Check your eligibility and apply for your e-visa here. Be sure to check your UAE visa requirements also. Note also that there is a UAE exit fee payable when crossing the border into Oman (we were charged 32 AED each).

USEFUL RESOURCES

Lonely Planet’s Oman, UAE & Arabian Peninsula guide book is the most up to date out of the main publishers, with The Rough Guide to Oman and Oman Bradt Travel Guide also useful.




If you’re planning to head off-road, the Explorer Oman Off-Road book is invaluable. You can order it direct from Explorer’s website, or pick it up at local bookshops, including the WH Smith at Muscat airport. They did have an app version of the book, but it is unavailable at the time of writing.

THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO MUSANDAM

We hope you’ve found this guide to Musandam useful. It’s a fascinating region in a really special country. If you have any questions at all, just use the comment section below. And if you know of anything we’ve missed, get involved with the discussion and fill in the gaps.

Happy travels!

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Discover the very best of Musandam, Oman. The \'Fjords of Arabia\' make for the perfect short trip from Dubai, or an add-on to a greater Oman travel itinerary. This complete guide covers the best things to see & do along the stunning Musandam coast, spectacular off-road mountain drives, hidden beaches, dhow cruises & the best scuba diving spots. Incl. camping spots (2WD & 4WD accessible) & a detailed travel map. Flight, ferry & road border crossings also covered #Oman
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