Private investors keen to develop wildlife reserve

MUSCAT: Ahmed bin Nasser al Mehrzi, Minister of Tourism, said that the ministry has received applications for investments in the Sultanate’s nature and wildlife reserves including one offer by a Kuwait investor to develop the Al Saleel Wildlife Reserve in the Wilayat of Al Kamil W’al Wafi in South Al Sharqiyah Governorate. The ministry also received an application from a local investor to develop the Rock Garden in Duqm in Al Wusta Governorate with a view to preserve its unique rocks and geological history. Al Saleel Wildlife Reserve and the Rock Garden are expected to lead private investments in tourism industry.

The ministry seeks to transform the two sites into tourist spots as part of major tourism investment projects to be set up in all governorates and wilayats of the Sultanate, the minister said, noting that Tanfeedh programme has laid down standards and criteria for private investment in nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries. The Rock Garden is located about 550 km from Muscat, and is accessible via route 33 to route 32, through the town of Sinaw. It is a 3-square kilometre area of limestone and sandstone rocks which are formed in an underground freshwater aquifer over 46 million years ago.

With time it has been shaped by wind, water, frost and other natural forces. According to the Minerals Section of the Department of Commerce and Industry, the Rock Garden is one of the top 25 sites of geological scientific importance in the entire Sultanate of Oman. Its rock formations are of exceptional scenic beauty and provide visitors with an impressive insight of the geological and geomorphological wonders of our planet. — ONA