The idea came to him not in a flash but rather as a result of a collective of experiences. Having worked in the country’s defense sector for almost two decades allowed him to travel the world and when he retired, he finally had the chance to quiet his thoughts and come up with an idea.
All he was aiming for was to put Khor Jarama on the tourist map and make his beloved part of the Sultanate a destination worthy to be travelled to and an escape for at least a portion of the country’s millions of visitors every year.
Nasser al Amri is aware that there is nothing much in Khor Jarama. Located barely an hour from Sur, there are some farms, a few villages here and there but to many people, nothing much when it comes to natural or man-made attractions.
Nasser is aware however that his place — a fishing village — has some scenic terrain. It has a pristine space of mountains and emerald calm water — almost lake-like in its formation — that he thought it was ideal for floating chalets.
And floating chalets he did build. Four of them in a span of barely a year. Each of them he designed efficiently picking some ideas from cottages he has seen in Europe and Asia.
His inspiration is vast and his ambition is high. From the often uneventful, serene villages rose structures from his imagination.
From the balcony of one of the chalets, a swing was fitted securely on the second level. It has a 360-degree view of the surrounding and with a barbecue smoke coming from downstairs and with the golden sunset in the distance, it makes up for a perfect getaway. The structures strategically scattered all throughout the core is how he always imagined them and he hopes more people would come to see and experience them.
An unexpected beauty
I haven’t heard of Khor Jarama before nor was I aware that this place has some features reminiscent of Bandar al Khayran. The faint idea I have was courtesy of a video shared by Oman Outdoor Adventure through Ahmed al Jaabri on the group’s Facebook page.
The drive from Sur to Khor Jarama is hot and humid especially in the middle of summer. Located between Sur and Ras al Hadd, at first, one would think that going there was a mistake.
The first thing out of the whole journey that I took interest in was the yet to be completed chalet sturdily leashed at the corner of Jarama’s fishing boat-ridden beach. It was about 50m x 50m, the lower floor about 80 percent finished while the upper floor is yet to be fully fitted with walls and decorations.
Almost all parts of the chalet were made of wood. Its base was composed of blue plastic barrels that one use in storing water or other liquid. The lower floor has all the amenities — a kitchen, a bathroom/toilet, three small bedrooms, a small living space and hallways that have direct access to the water. It was hard to tell what the plan was for the upper level.
“They only opened in six months but there are four floating chalets to choose from now. Some chalets can accommodate as many as 15 people while one of them can accommodate from 8 to 10 people,” Ahmed shared.
Our group selected one of the smaller ones. There were just seven of us. We picked our chalet because it was located on a spot where there was a small sandbar that looks very nice to walk on.
We would eventually learn that the chalets were also fitted with generators so guests can stay comfortably. They can also be moved anywhere in the whole of Khor Jarama towed by two motorboats with but three people operating them.
If one wants to go fishing, diving or kayaking, as of today, guests would have to bring their own gears.
A long way to go
Nasser shared that there are still many things that needed to be done to make the Floating Chalets of Khor Jarama a very exciting place to be at.
Each of the chalets has their own personality. The bigger one has its own mini-lawn where people can hang out on and play card or board games. All of them, however, come with sleeping amenities — from beds to pillows and blankets.
Al Jaabri shared that Nasser plans to develop the area — build a better port for the guests, have the small mosque at the main beach area fully fixed, among many things but progress is slow as he is spending for all of them.
“It would be great if we can enjoy help from the appropriate ministries especially on the tourism front but unfortunately, no one has come forward yet,” Nasser shared.
He said that after all, the potential is not only great but the floating chalets are truly unique attractions that can be added on top of what’s being offered in the country.
Although the development is coming slowly as he can only work in phases according to the money he has, Nasser is hopeful that more and more people will get to hear about this new attraction and make them come to their place and not just stop by Sur.
“I really like the idea. Fitted with even better facilities and possibly more attractions, this can be a new favourite destination,” Al Jaabri noted.
“What is amazing though is that we are few of the very first ones to see them,” he said.