Musandam has always been associated with Norway, aptly earning the monicker “the Norway of the Middle East” because of the beautiful fjords that continue to amaze travellers whenever they visit this governorate well-positioned between the Arabian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Sea of Oman.
A few hours’ drive from Dubai or an hour’s flight from Muscat, Musandam has been the perfect escape for those wanting to experience the beautiful culture of Oman, made even better by dhow cruises, pristine beaches, and lots of water adventures, including diving, snorkelling, and dolphin watching.
As the capital of the governorate, Khasab is known for its rugged mountains, turquoise waters, and rich marine life. The villages surrounding Khasab are scattered throughout the mountains and along the coast, each with its own distinct charm and character.
Till today, the majority of the conversation revolves around Khasab, Kumzar, and Bukha — all beautiful places with their own unique attractions and identities but there is actually more to Musandam than forts and beaches.
A recent visit to Khasab yielded another discovery. While the waters of Musandam are perfect for beach lovers, on the mountainside, one will also find a wide area that remains green even today. Several online watchers said it reminded them of Switzerland, and by extension, it will probably earn that nickname in the days to come.
Located about 30 minutes away from the airport, towards the valleys of Khalidiyah, Sall Al A’la’ is a small agricultural town peppered with date farms. At the far end of this village is a mini-forest reminiscent of those found in Dhofar during the Khareef season.
The most striking feature of the area is the rugged mountain range that serves as a backdrop to the village. The jagged peaks surrounding the mini-forest create a breathtaking view, while the grounds are covered with yellow and white flowering grasses that become more pronounced and mesmerising during sunset.
The road in Sall Al A’la’ branches to the right near the end of the village. From here, wooden posts line the unpaved road that leads to a park that is hidden between the cliffs of the towering mountains on one side and the mini-forest on the other.
A local farmer shared that the village enjoyed torrid rains in the early part of this year, and as a result, the meadows and wadis came to life with grasses and mini-forests turning lush green.
Covering an area the size of Al Khuwair, Sall Al A’la’ has actually been popular among the people living in Musandam as a great place for picnics. The park has been installed with facilities that children can use, including swings and see-saws.
For the locals, the place is best enjoyed by the goats, who climb the trees and celebrate the vast supply of grass covering the valley.
For those travelling from Muscat to Musandam, Sall Al A’la’ will be perfect for an afternoon hike, with the trees and the roads in between offering the perfect spot for that scenic adventure.
Though far from Switzerland, Sall Al A’la’ and Khalidiyah in Khasab will definitely charm every visitor passing through. It is important to note that the lush, green landscape, similar to Dhofar, is only seasonal and greatly depends on the rain. With high temperatures staying longer in the coming days, it won’t be long before the lush colour of the surroundings of Sall Al A’la’ will give way to summer.
It is something to look forward to, and on your next visit to Musandam, don’t miss out on passing through this village.