12 Oct Oman Travel Tips & Photos (Part III)
Musandam Peninsula – one of the most unique places in the world!
Oman is split into 2 parts: Oman is actually split into 2 parts by the United Arab Emirates. You have ‘main’ Oman, east of the United Arab Emirates, which comprises 95 percent of the country. Here you will find most of Oman’s main sights: Muscat, Wadis, Nizwa, Sun Mountain, Green Mountain and village ruins, etc. The Musandam Peninsula is the other part of Oman and is north of United Arab Emirates. To get there, you have to drive through Oman or come via Iran across Straits of Hormuz.
No trip to Oman is complete without the Musandam Peninsula! My advice is regardless of how you get there, absolutely make sure to get to the Musandam Peninsula! It is off-the-beaten-path, rugged, and gorgeous!
How to get there? The easiest way to get there is from Dubai, only 2.5 hours away. However, when planning your trip make sure to add another 1-2 hours as depending on traffic, border crossing from the United Arab Emirates to Musandam region can take a bit of time.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN MUSANDAM PENINSULA
Fjords in the Middle East
One of the stunning things about Musandam is the fjords, majestic cliffs with jet out in Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. No wonder, this part of Musandam is referred to as the Norway of the Middle East.
‘Chase’ dolphins in the Persian Gulf: The best to way to see the fjords is on a dhow boat, a traditional Omani boat, which is what I did. You can go for 6-7 hour dhow cruise as part of an organized tour, which takes you to Telephone Island, which is located in the Elphinstone Inlet in the Persian Gulf. Here, you can see dolphins, swim, snorkel and drift along inside a dhow boat on beautiful waters of Straits of Hormuz.
Below is a screenshot of the video I made when we were ‘chasing’ the dolphins in the Persian Gulf. I have not yet figured out how to embed videos on my website. Once I do, I will post the whole video.
Jebel Harim, or Mountain of Women, is the highest mountain in the Musandam Peninsula and you have to go the peak to see the stunning views of the naturally made lagoon, Khawr Najd. The best way to get there is in a 4WD.
The best time to visit is in the spring when the mountain area is littered with wildflowers such as wild geranium and iris.
Ancient Petroglyphs and Marine Fossils
Musandam has a very rich collection of petroglyphs, rock art chipped into boulders and cave walls.
These predate the arrival of Islam and are very old. They were likely carved by early settlers who used rudimentary tools to do the carvings. Ancient petroglyphs can be found in the remotest places, and depict a wide range of subjects including people, animals such as horses and camels), as well as abstract symbols and geometrical patterns whose meaning has been lost.
Also really cool are marine fossils embedded in the boulders which formed millions of years ago when the the mountains were under water.
Going to these mountains is half the fun as the road to get there is exhilarating! You will need a 4WD to navigate these terrains. I hired a local guide and vehicle for my trip and suggest you do the same.
Go for a swim! In the end, make sure to take some time out to enjoy some of the beautiful beaches!