Kaushalendra Singh –
Salalah is a destination where desert meets natural vegetation, mountain meets the sea and nature gets an expansive expression. But among all the varieties the majestic Khareef (monsoon) season is something special that attracts people from all over the region.
The tourist sites are divided mainly in east and west of Salalah. Western Salalah is where the heart of Salalah lives and this west takes the visitors to the mountain on the South as also to the places like Ain Garziz, Nabi Ayub and further south to the border of Yemen via Dalkhout and Rakhyout.
In the west of Salalah lies Port of Salalah, Sultan Qaboos Hospital, and major chunk of residential accommodations, which have sprung up during the last six to seven years. Places like Iitin Recreational Ground, the official venue of Khareef Festival, and Mughsayl beach are also located in this direction. The beach is known for big mountain caves resembling a lion and big trunk of an elephant and more importantly for blow holes, adjacent to the sea.
Mughsayl is all time favourite among tourists and residents in Salalah due its location and mountain cliffs very close to the sea. The views here are spectacular due to the blowholes along the beach. It is lovely to see sea water shooting high into the air from these holes, which are created by the erosion of the limestone shelf under the beach as the waves crash into the shore.
The caves in the mountain make comfortable home for the visitors. This is a perfect picnic spot, where tourists are found taking siesta after a long journey, either coming back from the border that touches Yemen or coming straight from Salalah after 40-km drive.
The drive from Al Mughsayl up to Dhalkhout is very exciting. One has to be careful as sharp curves and steep slopes are there all through the journey. Major landmarks in between are Aqeeshan and Niyabat of Shahb As’eeb in the Wilayat of Rakhyut. There are plenty of beaches on the way to Dhalkhout to take a break. Besides Niyabat of Khadhrafi, other important side stops are the small settlements of Hafuf, Dahaq, Hakab, Himmut, Urf and Ghaduw. Among other interesting features are mountainous plateau of Dara, Sheerashti, Ghoota, Sarfait and Dharbat Ali. Dhalkhout borders with the Republic of Yemen to the west.
Eastern Salalah has places like Taqah, Mirbat, Ain Razat, Ain Hamran, Ain Athum, Wadi Darbat, Khor Rouri, Hasik and Zeik. There are places where natural springs keep flowing during Khareef season.
This year not less than 360 small springs have come up due to good monsoon and regular supply of natural water for the last one month.
Tourists from Oman and neighbouring countries are coming to these sites in large numbers, as the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources is developing these sites to tap fresh water resources and as also for tourism activities.