Into the wild in Musandam, Oman

Ever wondered what is the eco-system in Arabia? How Bedouins lived in gulf of Arabia? How settlement is done in wadis & mountains or coasts? If you want to see all this for yourself, then go to Musandam in Oman! Drive up to the end of UAE’s Ras Al Khaima border & enter in this ‘Beauty of Arabia’! All you get to see is sea, mountains & wild Arabia!
Musandam peninsula has a very unique location. This is the farthest tip of Arabian peninsula, right across the sea there is Iran at just 55km & in between comes the strait of Hormuz through which most of trade ships & oil ships pass from Gulf of Arabia. Musandam is covered by range of Hajar Mountains, which create the fjord, the cliffs plunging directly into the turquoise sea!

The best way is to camp on one of the beach among all those untouched beaches or rocky mountains. Of course we need to make sure that we are not leaving behind any garbage or disturbing this wild nature in any way!Our Journey up to Khasab town was mesmerizing! The curvy road from border to Khasab town goes along the sea-coast on one side & mountain on the other. You stop at any point and the riddle of Arabian ecosystem will be unleashed in front of you! The birds, the fishes, goats, sand, rocks, marshes, plants, trees, mountains, wadis, water, wind, sun there is no end to it! You can fill the Nature in all your senses!

Bukha Town

There is small town named ‘Bukha’, on the way to Khasab from Ras Al Khaima border. As you enter Bukha, there is a beach & marshy land right next to road. We took our first stop here and got to see many birds. Storks, colony of seagulls, Southern Grey Shrike, Lesser Crested Tern. This is definitely a good spot for bird watching. There is park next to this marshy area, at the end of park, they have built a hut overlooking the marshes for bird-lovers.
Just after the marshy land, there is Bukha Castle overlooking sea and mountains on the background. We couldn’t go inside the castle as it was locked but we wandered around the castle. We herd some laughs from behind the castle, so we went to see if anyone can tell us more about the castle. But there were few Omani teenage kids hanging out in a traditional old ruined house. They were happy to talk to us and even posed for us. Oman people in general are friendly and are great hosts.

Restored Bukha Castle

 

Omani Boys

After the short stop over, we started out journey to Khasab on probably most scenic road in Arabian gulf. Through out Musandam, the Hajar Mountains

are scenic. The rock formation, shapes, colors & textures of rocks are numerous! Every cliff is different from the rest. In Musandam province there is natural vegetation, you can find date palms as well. Along the coast you can see salt water plants & on mountains we can find bushes & trees. Here is a photo of wild flower bush, we found on one of the mountain.

This part of Oman is not developed much, thankfully! So you get to see traditional Bedouin houses, their small farms, dhow building and even goats all over. The Bedouin houses use natural material for building house & their main food is fish here. There are many old castles & forts along the coast as well. The small villages are situated in the wadis or at the coasts where wadis are opening up. Though you can’t see water flowing in wadis, may be because it is not there at the moment or channeled it to their farms. But you get to see some bushes in mountains, in the path of water, which is sign of presence of ground water table.

The best feature here is the channels passing under the roads; which are built all around these towns and villages. It is for protection from flash floods or high tide. On roads there are special signs everywhere to alert you not to drive if water is high above certain mark.

Dolphin Watching

The biggest attraction in Khasab or Musandam Peninsula is a dhow cruise in fjords for dolphin watching & snorkeling!

The waters in this area is warmer. Cruising in fjords in traditional wooden Omani Dhow is lovable experience. The fjords of Musandam are breathtaking! We got to see little garbage floating on waters. But it was a long weekend & looking at crowd at border crossing we could make out that this is very popular spot among UAE residents. But I am sure, otherwise this water must be completely clean.
We got to see at least 10-15 wild dolphins in those waters. Firstly we

were spotting them from some distance, as we went closer they started playing around the dhows. This was a very delightful experience for any nature lover! The dolphins were happy & naughty! They were liking it when people clapped for them. The dhow operators were blowing whistles to call dolphins & dolphins were coming to surface in response to it. That interaction between human & fish was interesting, you even think for a second if those dolphins are pet of these boat operators.

There are many small fishing villages in the fjords of Musandam dotted along the coast, where you can reach only by boat.
The Telegraphic island in between the fjords, which is stop for snorkeling was beautiful & comparatively clean. This is a perfect & one of the best place to see beautiful corals in sea. The island is surrounded by mountains on all sides. Standing on the top of the island surrounded by beauty and vastness of Nature, in presence of deep sea & open skies; somewhere I felt like Nature is trying to talk to us here!

Khasab Town

The tiny Khasab town is remarkably clean, you could see garbage bins kept in every corner of the town, they have definitely considered walking distance of people while placing those bins. The town is pretty small, people use cycles or walk which is very sustainable and rare to see in UAE. Hopefully that will change in future. The fresh air in Musandam was enough of proof that there is no significant pollution here. I felt, it’s been years I haven’t breathed such fresh air!
Dolphin watching tour started from Khasab harbor was real fun, but the best experience we had at Khasab town was at night! We stayed in Khasab town at the end of settlement, right next to mountains. There were abundant goats wandering on roads & in bushes around. At night, while we were returning to our accommodation, a small animal, size in between a dog & a cat with exceptionally long ears, long bushy tail & shining eyes crossed the road in front of us. We tried to take snaps but it ran back towards the mountains. We realized it must be an Arabian fox or some animal in the same family, which we got to see only in zoo in UAE. After a minute, we saw one more, we tried to take out our camera. As the animal heard us, it stopped, got alert, raised ears to full length & stared at us for a moment & then vanished in dark. We clicked in dark, but it was gone already. All this happened in split seconds. Till we return back to our senses other animal came & same thing repeated. we saw at least 4 of these animals in same way but couldn’t click a single shot. They were quick & alert. We walked in direction, where they all were rushing, but we couldn’t find them again. After a while we heard sound of a goat for some time & then it stopped. We realized the foxes got their food, they must have gone back in mountains now. Next day when we went to museum in Khasab Castle, we learnt about the same nocturnal Blanford’s Fox (Vulpes Cana)! These foxes are listed as least concerned in IUCN list but hunting of these foxes is banned in Oman. These foxes stay in mountains and are found in Middle East mainly in Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Iran, Afghanistan & other Middle eastern countries.
Sighting of dolphins, foxes, birds & fishes into the wild was definitely one of the most amazing experience for us in Musandam!
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4 Comments on "Into the wild in Musandam, Oman"

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I am often to blogging and i really appreciate your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information about
Musandam Khasab

Normally i don`t read much blog but your blog has some thing new information so that i read and i like that kindly share some information for Dubai Desert Safari i will come on December so it will help us

it is very nice share lovely good to read your blog kindly share some information about Desert Safari Dubai so we will know what fun we ke try in dubai desert safari

Thank you Gerard and Don for your comments. Actually I write about sustainability and environmental awareness on this blog not about tourism :). I enjoyed few desert safaris in Dubai and I did not come across any special eco-tours or sustainability features there. Hope you will find about it through tourism websites, have gr8 vacation in Dubai!

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