Dakhiliyah, an escape from scorching heat

MUSCAT: The Governorate of Al Dakhiliyah has a variety of sites, making it an important destination for tourism throughout the year.
It is a favourite destination for foreign tourists, those who seek natural beauty, those who love forts, and those who are fond of exploring caves.
According to Hamoud bin Khalid al Qamshoi, Director of Tourism of Al Dakhiliyah Governorate, mountains are the best place for those who wish to escape from summer heat.
He said there are more than 30 tourist establishments in the governorate, including seven tourist resorts, 15 hotels and two high-quality tourist camps.
There is also a heritage retreat, four guesthouses and two green guesthouses. These hotels and their affordable rates have contributed to making tourism more attractive.
About 45 tourist offices have been set up in the governorate to guide tourists. Recently, the ministry, in coordination with different government organisations, has initiated several development projects, Al Qamshoi said.
These include the development and rehabilitation of forts in coordination with the Ministry of Heritage and Culture; development of some old lanes; and meeting residents in the area to encourage investment in these historical lanes.
It has taken up the responsibility of managing them by setting up private companies.
Speaking about the basic services provided to the tourists, Al Qamshoi said the ministry encourages citizens, especially in tourist destinations, to set up public toilets, which the ministry takes on rent. This has been achieved in four tourist sites so far.
These public toilets are in the eastern mountain or Jabal Sharqi, Wadi Gul road, Jabal Shams road, Wadi Fanja and Wadi A’1la in the Wilayat Bahla. The governorate has a number of historical and cultural sites.
There are a number of historical forts such as Nizwa Fort, which is considered one of the oldest in the Sultanate.
There is also Bahla Fort, which was listed as a world heritage site. Jibrin Fort is known for its defence structure. The governorate has a number of aflaj such as Falaj Daris, Falaj Al Khitmain and Falaj al Malaki, which are now regarded as world heritage sites. There are old souqs or traditional markets such as Souq Nizwa and Souq Bahla, as well as historical graveyards, ancient villages and lanes.
Commenting on the highlands that have become major tourist attractions during summer, Al Qamshoi said, “The governorate has many natural and geological sites, including high mountains such as Jabal Al Akhdhar and Jabal Shams. They are considered the most important tourist attractions in the governorate due to their unique climate, rare vegetation and high altitude. Tourists also engage in exciting activities such as cycling, hiking through mountain trails, rock climbing and exploration of caves.”
He said caves are among the important components that attract tourists.
These include Al Hoota Cave located below Jabal Al Akhdhar on its western slope.
On the other end is the Wilayat of Al Hamra, a natural formation that dates back to thousands of years.
There is also the Jarnan Cave located under Wadi Hilfain near the Al Nizar village, which has a number of houses belonging to the era of the migration of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
These caves attract tourists as well as geological researchers.
On services provided by the Department of Tourism in Al Dakhiliyah Governorate, Al Qamshoi said, “The department works in coordination with the concerned authorities to provide basic services required by tourists and to develop some tourist sites.”
On investment opportunities, he said, “The governorate has seen an increase in the number of tourist establishments. There are many
tourist establishments which have been completed recently. Also, there are some projects on which work is still on.”