Travel Informations

The Sultanate of Oman occupies the south-eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula and lies between latitudes 16° 40' and 26° 20' north, and longitudes 51° 50' and 59° 40' east.

The total area is approximately 309,500 km2 and it is the third largest country in the Arabian Peninsula. Oman’s coastline extends 3,165 km from the Strait of Hormuz in the north, to the borders of the Republic of Yemen in the south and shares its coast with three seas: the Arabian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Arabian Sea. It also comprises a number of islands off the coast, among them the islands of Masirah, Halanyat and Al Soda.

The Sultanate borders the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the west, the United Arab Emirates in the northeast, the Republic of Yemen in the southwest, the Strait of Hormuz in the north and the Arabian Sea in the east. The Musandam Peninsula forms the country's northern tip. It is the only coast the Sultanate has on the Arabian Gulf and is just over 50 km south of the Islamic Republic of Iran across the Strait of Hormuz.

  • Muscat
  • Khasab
  • Lima
  • Shinas
  • Dibba
  • Masirah Island
  • Shannah

Muscat is the heart of the Sultanate, the political and administrative hub of the nation, the center of tourism and commercial activities. It was known as the ‘Governorate of the Capital’ from 1960–1970, before it was dubbed in 1988 the ‘Governorate of Muscat’, uniting the Wilayats of Muscat, Muttrah, Bausher, Seeb, Qurayat and Al-Amerat.

The Governorate, which is the most populous in the Sultanate, is situated between the Sea of Oman and the Eastern Hajar mountains, with Al-Batinah and Al-Dakhiliyah to the west and Al-Sharqiyah to the south.

Since the late eighteenth century Muscat has been the uncontested capital of Oman. Today, under the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Greater Muscat has renewed beyond recognition, but has never lost its pride in its heritage and culture. The capital area is a prime example of intelligent and aesthetic development, amalgamating modernity with tradition.

Modern Muscat is home to a range of luxury hotels, up market restaurants and a multitude of service companies. Among its attractions are a number of magnificent beaches and breathtaking creeks such as Qurum Beach, Al-Jissah, Yitti, Al-Khairan and Al-Bustan. Several restored forts, folk museums and traditional souqs are popular attractions not to be missed.

General Information

Area 309,500 Km2.
Population (February 2013) 3.82 Million.
Language Arabic (official), English (widely spoken), German & French (most hotel staff).
Capital City of Muscat.
Natural Resources Petroleum, Natural Gas, Copper, Fishery, Agriculture.
Local Time GMT +4.
Currency Omani Rial (OMR), which equates to $ 2.58.
Business Hours Government: 07:30 - 14:30.
Private Sector 08:00 - 13:00 then 16:00 to 19:00.
Shopping Hours 09:00 - 13:00 then 16:30 - 24:00.
Electricity 220 - 240 Volts at 50 cycles.
Weather - Winter: cool & pleasant
- Summer: hot & humid
* Hottest months are June through August.
 

Khasab is the administrative hub of Musandam and is the most northerly wilayat, 480 km from Muscat. It overlooks the Arabian Gulf in the north-west and the Sea of Oman in the east. The landscape is dramatic, with towering, craggy cliffs and a fjord-like coastline. The City of Khasab at the heart of the Wilayat has been modernised with essential amenities such as roads, squares, parks and hotels.

The wilayat comprises a number of attractions, with Khasab Fort, dating back to the era of Al Bu-Said, being the most prominent. There are also a number of towers: Al-Siba; Kabas Al-Kasr; and the tower of Said Bin Ahmad Al-Malik which is the remains of what was once a colossal fort.

In the Harat Al-Kumzari, around the back of Khasab Fort to the east, are the plantations and seasonal homes of the Kumzari tribe. Further east is the souq, with busy shops selling many items found elsewhere in Oman together with local pottery and Musandam's distinctive axe or Jirz.

The bustling port of Khasab is vibrant with commercial activity, including a number of tourist cruise operators. The principal occupation in Khasab is fishing, followed by animal husbandry and agriculture. The area is fertile and many fruit and vegetable crops are grown here. Khasab is rapidly evolving into a tourist hotspot. Scuba Diving in the area is well known for its challenges. Mountain safaris are popular, as are the dhow cruises to the nearby fjords.

Details

Undoubtedly the best way to experience the full splendor of Musandam is by sea, and no visit to the region would be complete without a ferry ride.

Khawr Sham

The striking juxtaposition of long fjords and barren mountains is epitomized by khawr sham, a spectacular sheltered 20 kilometer-long fjord. Its calm, clear waters are flanked by high cliffs that drop precipitously into the sea. The glassy water mirrors images of the mountains and white beaches are invitingly empty.

Qanaha

Qanaha is one of a number of small villages along the fjord. It blends into the cliffs, making its stone houses seemingly part of the cliffs themselves. Sun-bleached boats, drawn up on the beach, glow in the sun. The villagers are fishermen and access to the village is by sea.

Jazirat Al Ghanam

Jazirat Al Ghanam (Goat Island) sits in the Strait of Hormuz. Its name is derived from the past practice of leaving goats on the island to graze when pastures on the mainland were exhausted in times of drought. The island now is an important base of Omans’ naval forces.

Kumzar

Kumzar is the northernmost town in Oman. Although geographically isolated, it is home to sizeable community of approximately 3,000 people. Iran lies about 55 kilometers across the water and there is a long history of contact between the two. By sea from Khasab it takes 2 hours to reach Kumzar by dhow.

Bait al Qufl

The bait al-Qufl or 'house of the lock' is a form of architecture unique to Musandam. It is a miniature stronghold built of local stone used for storing supplies of grain, dates and other items crucial to the survival of the household. The roof is made from timbers of acacia, covered with a mixture of earth and gravel with an edging of stone blocks. Inside, the floor is about one meter below ground and there are raised slabs for storing goods. Entry is difficult as the heavy door extends to the sunken floor, opens inwards and is deeply recessed. It is secured by an elaborate locking system which gives the structure its name.

Khasab Fort

Khasab Fort is a picturesque stronghold situated on the inner cove of Khasab Bay in Wilayat Khasab, Musandam Governorate. The fort was built in the 17th century by Portuguese seeking control over regional maritime trade. Within its low crenellated walls it boasts a colossal central tower, thought to pre-date the fort itself. It was restored in 1989.

Jabal Harim

At 2,087m, Jabal Harim is the highest peak in Musandam. Along the ridges are breathtaking views down into the wadis and foothills. Small settlements balance precariously on the mountain sides where every possible piece of land has been utilized. Farms are enclosed by stone walls, protecting crops from livestock and trapping the precious water that runs off the rocky surfaces. Mountain people grow their crops in the rainy season, usually from December to March. In spring the range of wild flowers is surprising for such a seemingly barren area. Gladioli and tiny irises can be seen along with many other native varieties.

Telephone Numbers

Khasab telephone numbers:

Phone: +968 2673 1802
Fax: +968 2673 1803

This is a small village separated from Wilayt Khasab in Musandam Governorate by rugged mountainous peaks. That’s why the best way to reach this village is by boats that will take you through marine vistas that will be engraved in your memory for ever.

Visitors will enjoy the fantastic rock formations of the mountain range directly overlooking the sea, and birds hovering over the sapphire waters through the distance that separates Khasab from Lima.

The village is known for its local crafts specially the unique AlJarz. Lima enjoys bids from the Renaissance through the provision of basic development services such as schools and streets as well as electricity and water.

It has a number of ancient castles, forts and towers. The most important castle in Shinas is Shinas Castle, and the most important fort is Rissah Al Maleh, Khaddrawin, Ajeeb, and Al Asrar Fort. In addition, it has multiple towers in Shinas, where it has an estimated 35 towers, including: Al Mareer which is located on the shore of the sea and the Aswad’s Tower.

Also, it has Shinas Garden, and bushes of dense mangrove on Sea Creek which have the attention of the government in developing. That is making it a beautiful tourist resort.

It is one of the Wilayats of Musandam Governorate; famous for its traditional handcrafts. Fishing, farming and cattle-raising are the most common industry. They grow dates, citruses and fruits. Handcrafts include the buildup of fishing boats, palm-leave and textile manufacturing.

It is located in Al Sharqiyah North region facing the Arabian Sea. It is coastline is considered a tourist attraction offering a unique opportunity to watch several species of turtles swim the length and breadth of the island. There are several water springs scattered across the island. Textile manufacturing is the most common industry.

Shannah is one of the villages of the Wilayat of Mahut and a crossing point to Masirah Island via ferry service. The village has an awesome scenic marine and natural view that captures the attention of every visitor, tourist, or resident.