With autumn finally here, it’s time to put up a plan and escape to the wonderful arms of Dhofar's astonishing nature for a mini-vacation. And just like that popular song, the hills (mountains in Dhofar's case) are alive. But it's not just mountains that are worth the visit, from plains to beaches including a series of springs, a part of Dhofar becomes that picture-perfect destination that would want you to captivate hundreds of images.
But you're not the only one packing up his bags for that long drive or that quick plane ride towards Oman's beautiful south. So word of caution, there will be hundreds (if not thousands) of other tourists wanting that Instagram-worthy posts. What this means is that be ready for traffic in some areas. Expect queues in popular food joints and expect other people in your photos doing poses just as you do.
We are putting together five of the places you cannot afford to miss when in Dhofar for the Khareef season.
Wadi Darbat is a spectacular lush green valley with a river running in the middle. This river runs for miles and at some point, creates beautiful cascading waterfalls. The surrounding hills have small caves in which people can stroll. It’s the perfect place for a small family outing or a friendly get-together. During autumn, the valley is filled with locals and tourists who visit to enjoy the scenery. There are many stalls and small restaurants in the valley that sell street food such as shawarma, popcorn and ice cream.
Mugsail is a long stretch of clear blue water with white sand and beautiful cliffs on either side of the water. It’s a magnificent and picturesque landscape. People usually come here not just to enjoy the beautiful landscape but also to interact with the blowholes, enjoy the caves as well as hike on the nearby footpaths. It is perfect for a picnic and a quick swim, you can even drive through the beach! There are also many cute traditional huts at the beach where you can have your own barbeque lunch. Word of caution. The waves in Mughsail Beach are powerful so it's best to remain within the safety fences set up by the municipality to protect your stay in the area.
Tawi Atair Sinkhole
Tawi Atair is one of the most famous sinkholes in Dhofar and it is one of the deepest natural sinkholes in the world with 100 meters in width and 211 meters in depth. The sinkhole is very deep that is why caution must be taken while visiting. There is a gallery where you can see the hole perfectly. The gallery has a protective wall as the land is slippery and fog usually obstructs the view. It is also called the 'well of birds' as many migrating birds land around the water of the sinkhole.
The Archaeological sites
Dhofar is known as the land of frankincense. This reputation has been established hundreds of years ago and continues to resonate today. Therefore, there are a lot of things to uncover on your visit especially when it comes to its frankincense history.
Aside from this historical gem, many archaeological sites all over Dhofar would certainly astound history buffs. Al Baleed and Sumahram for example will already make you wonder how complex and regal the ancient ways of living are. Both of these sites have sea ports where frankincense and other goods are traded.
A drive out of the city, one will find Wadi Dawkah where a massive frankincense plantation will educate you on how frankincense is extracted. A few kilometres away, the site of Ubar also known as the Atlantis of the Sand will give more meaning to how massive Oman's popularity was as a source of frankincense in the past. You can go archaeological site hunting and this will definitely already occupy a full day.
The highest peak in Dhofar reaching up to 2000 meters, this is the best place to see the sea of clouds covering the massive grandness of the nearby plains. It is a perfect viewpoint for sunset and sunrise pictures. It is home to many plants such as Acacia, Gum trees and even the mesmerizing baobab. The narrow mountain passes have little water but there are several streams, which are an important source of water for most animals found in the region. Besides the Arabian leopard (considered a rare animal), these mountains are home to several other mammals such as the Arabian gazelle, foxes and the Nubian ibex.