Tuesday, August 09, 2022 | Muharram 10, 1444 H
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OMAN
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

For a great dive in a nature reserve

Historically, beaches and parks have played a very significant role as locations for recreation and attractions for tourism. And their use has had substantial impacts environmentally, socially and economically.


The Sultanate of Oman takes great pride in its magnificent ecology and diverse flora and fauna. Emanating from the government’s care for environmental conservation, the authorities have taken several steps to ensure that its natural resources are protected and people are actively engaged in preserving the country’s remarkable natural treasures.


Indeed, awareness of the fragility of the ecosystem along with ways to ensure its protection have been in place for almost four decades. Species that were once extinct in the wild have been brought back through breeding and conservation programs, and sustainable tourism efforts are ongoing.


Through royal decrees, the government ensured establishment of nature reserves such as the Daymaniyat Islands near Muscat, the turtle reserve at Ras Al Jinz, the Land of Frankincense in Dhofar or the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Al Wusta.


The Lonely Planet, in its travel guide recommends the Daymaniyat Islands as one of the biggest draws in the Sultanate of Oman.


“The azure waters surrounding the Damaniyat Islands – a 100-hectare marine reserve and craggy nine-island archipelago off Oman's northern coast – are wildly popular with divers in the know”, says the global trip advisor.


Daymaniyat Islands, often called the “Jewel of the Middle East” offers great dive sites for visitors to enjoy. With most dive sites located along the islands, Daymaniyat Islands offers great dive sites to all level divers, beginners to advanced.


It is a kind of archipelago comprising nine islands Kharaba, Hayot, Al Jabal Al Kabeer Al Jabal Al Sagheer, Al Mamlahah, Aloumiya, Al Jawn and Awlad Jawn in the of Wilayats Al-Seeb and Wilayat Barka.


Daymaniyat islands have more than 22 sites suitable for divers of various levels, and nutrient-rich waters that are thick with coral reefs and colorful tropical species, including Arabian butterfly fish, clown fish, puffer fish, rays, eels and turtles.


“Divers and snorkelers are typically rewarded with sightings of whale sharks, humpback whales and pods of dolphins too”, entices a feature in the travel magazine, which has put the Sultanate of Oman at seventh position among the top ten countries to visit in 2022.


Daymaniyat islands are characterized by the presence of great number of different species of coral reef fish. Large number of Hawksbill Turtle shelters in the islands in order to nest and lay their eggs, which in fact add a great importance to these islands being a haven for such species strongly endangered with extinction.


“You’re not allowed to disembark on the uninhabited islands from May through October, when green and hawksbill turtles visit to nest and bury their eggs in holes on the sandy beaches”, advises Lonely Planet advisory.


But outside nesting season, it’s easy to visit by boat, from Al Mouj Marina in Muscat or further down the coast at Barr Al Jissah.


Daymaniyat Islands are considered the natural habitat for a wide range of wildlife species as many bird species take it as haven thanks to the availability of food and the shallow waters of islands.


The islands are considered significant standpoints for migratory birds such as Osprey and sooty falcon.


The island turns to a fantastic panorama thanks to the migration of thousands of seabirds during the breeding season such as the great white heron, the gray heron, the wading bird, different sea ducks and many types of the seagull, many types of bridled tern and some red billed tropical birds.


Some sea mammals live in the reserve such as Bottlenose Dolphin and local types of common dolphin along with spinner dolphin, humpback whale, whale shark and black-headed fish.


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