Saturday, April 01, 2023 | Ramadan 9, 1444 H
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Mahoot's charming little island is becoming an ideal local getaway

Photos by Haitham Al Farsi

Oman has one of the world's most beautiful coastlines and travelling from Muscat to Salalah gives one an idea of how diverse the country's landscape is. Located in the Arabian Peninsula, it is also home to some of the most intriguing islands spread across the different governorates.

Mahoot Island is located in the Wilayat of Mahoot facing the coast of the Arabian Sea, about 25 kilometres south of the state centre. To reach the island, one would have to take a small boat in order to discover the treasures hidden within.

For its size, Mahoot Island is filled with many different surprises that is ideal for tourism. It has bays, lagoons and soft beaches surrounding a stunning mangrove forest on three sides that has become home to many different local and migratory birds including flamingo, seagull, Socotra cormorant and large numbers of other various birds.

On the front of the island, there is a 6 km long white beach overlooking the nearby smaller islands of "Rak" and Heb. While remote, some locals spend hours enjoying this beautiful view lulled by the soft crash of the waves and the cool blow of the breeze.

The island is famous for its abundance of shrimp and many types of fish, and the people of the island preserve its old charm by not building any permanent structures in it. There are a few barasti — sheds made out of palm fronds where people usually go to shield them from the sun.

As of late, Mahoot Island is witnessing an active and noticeable tourist movement. During holidays, droves of families can be found headed for the island to escape in its calming embrace.

Fishermen within the area maintained some of their traditional methods of fishing. If you're lucky, you will be able to witness them hunting for squid using their time-honoured tradition. Shellfishes also are abundant on the island and provide good alternative food for the villagers.

In Mahoot island, the women and children collect different types of shells, called locally “Al-Jafour”, which they cook at a high temperature, extract the meat from it and dry it, and then use it with rice. Women also extract materials from these seashells and make special mixtures to produce different types of scents and perfumes.

Not many people know that the island played an important role for sea trade for generations. The island was reportedly the starting point of some Omani ships to Yemen, Africa and many other countries. Additionally, salt was transported from Mahoot to Sur and the eastern regions of Oman. Camels and dates were transported from Oman to Africa through different ships such as Al-Badan and Al-Sanbouk.

With the beginning of the blessed renaissance and the availability of government services such as education, health and others, most of the island’s residents moved to nearby cities for education and other amenities provided by the Sultanate’s government. Despite that, the island is still rich in various natural components and is a site to attract large numbers of tourists and visitors from different countries.

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