Wednesday, October 27, 2021 | Rabi' al-awwal 20, 1443 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Six reasons why you should plan a trip to Musandam

When people call Musandam the 'Norway of the Middle East', it is a compliment that is well-grounded on reality. The governorate not only boasts some of the best fjords in the region, but it is also home to some of the most fascinating sunsets, the most captivating of history and so rich in culture you can spend a week on the island and would barely scratch the surface of what makes it a unique destination.


Now that travelling all over the country has become easier and with winter finally coming in a few weeks, there could be no better time to visit.


If it's your first time to visit this remote but equally gifted treasure of Oman, here are seven reasons why you should finally check it out this year.


Learn culture and history in Khasab


The capital of Musandam, Khasab has the perfect access to the strait of Hormuz wedged between scenic, steep cliffs and a playful blue sea. Covering about 136 coastal and mountainous hamlets, it's one of the most scenic drives you can take in Oman.


Other than its natural beauty, Khasab is also home to Khasab Castle which was built by the Portuguese in the 17th century. This alone will give history buffs so much material to work with. Within the castle walls, you'll find a model of Bait al Qafel, an ancient traditional lock house that demonstrates how homes used to be made and secured on the island. Many of the villages also preserved many of their traditions so a walk down ancient paths will definitely lead to new discoveries of how things are done in the past.


Island hopping the fjords and the islands


Anyone who visited Musandam always recommends not missing a dhow cruise. Being the Norway of the Middle East, one of its prized possessions is the way fjords rise from the blue sea. Other than Khasab, you can also visit Telegraph Islands, Seebi Island, Jazirat al Ghanam, al Khil and Kun Island and even the intriguing Kumzar Island where the inhabitants have created their own language totally unique from anywhere in the region. Just off the peninsula, you can also explore Um Al Ghanam Island (Mother of Goats) and learning the origin of the names of these islands will already provide you with all-day hunting activity.


Best place for dolphin watching


Whenever doing water adventures, one of the best attractions while cruising through the waters of Musandam are the playful dolphins that swim along with the sea vessels. The rich and diverse waters of Musandam are also perfect for diving, swimming and snorkelling in fact, in Khasab alone, the waters are overflowing with fish, turtles and even whale sharks in some seasons. As of late, different travel companies within Musandam have already provided diverse activities including deep-sea fishing and jetski.


Camping and hiking haven


Outside Khasab you will find villages such as Qadah and Ghubb Ali where you will find prehistoric drawings on rocks said to be more than 2000 years old. The highest peak of Musandam, Jabal Harem which is under 2100 metres above sea level is also an amazing hiking destination. Going to Musandam means also exploring the mountains on foot to get a better idea of the lay of the land. With a long stretch of coastline, you will find pockets of beautiful beaches in between. It is a common thing to see a group of campers dominating some of the best beaches, especially before Covid19. A week-long stay will not be enough to explore all the amazing beaches and hidden trails that overlook not only the city of Khasab but even the village of Kumzar and other islands.


Check out Madha


A settlement of about 2,000 people, Madha is surrounded by Sharjah, Fujairah and Ras al Khaimah and while its location may be hard to access, exploring its 16 villages is filled with new knowledge and learning about the traditions of Oman. Madha is also home to 24 aflaj and hot springs including Ain A'smai, Lashma and Hajer Bani Hamid and these places are seldom visited because of their remote location. If you're looking for a place only very few people have visited, this is one of the wilayats to visit when in Musandam.


A romantic getaway


Musandam, over the years, has established itself as a remote romantic getaway thanks to some hotel properties within the governorate that offer an incomparable experience. Prior to Covid19, several Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities visited the governorate to experience not only the unique Omani hospitality but the world-renown beauty of Six Senses Zinghy Bay which is hidden between chocolate mountain and beautiful white-sand beaches. Can you imagine having your own private villa and pool overlooking a beautiful mountain and sea view?


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