Kaushalendra Singh –
If festivity is in the air, Salalah is a stage for all sorts of entertainment during Khareef. It is nature which does not allow people to remain located at one place. They keep on moving from one location to another until they are fully exhausted and land finally in the Salalah Tourism Festival enclosure in Itin, which treats them nicely and rejuvenates for the next day. The cycle continues until time comes for them to say ‘good bye Salalah’ with a hope to come back again.
This is the time when they realise of missing many things and places they would have covered. Though any amount of time is not enough for Salalah, an organised approach allows you to cover most of the places in a limited time span.
To address this perpetual question of ‘where to go and from where to start’, the Ministry of Tourism has come out with a solution for those who come here on short vacation. It suggests at least you should have six days to cover most of the interesting places in and around Salalah. This is up to the visitor to customise and cut down the locations according to their priority and liking if they do not have even six days of holiday.
The tourists can take some leafs from the MoT’s solution called ‘Dhofar in six days’. This is a guide which has been done to suggest places all over Dhofar. However, in this list there are some places where there is no impact of Khareef. So it is easy for them to identify places where the impact of majestic Khareef (monsoon) is there.
The information is handy for the visitors giving them choice of covering major tourist spots in six days. It suggests them to start first day from western Salalah and cover places like Sahil (plain) Itin, Ain Jarziz, and the tomb of the Prophet Ayoub. Having lunch at the Itin mountain heights is great feeling and then suggested is a city tour between farms and coconuts stalls in the Salalah city. One can finish the day with a visit to Al Baleed archaeological site, sunset at Hafah beach and then shopping at Souq Hafah, which is also known as Frankincense souq or Souq Al Husn due to its proximity to Al Husn Palace.
Further west is suggested on the second day — tour in Dhalkout, some 90km away from Salalah; while coming back from Dhalkout, a tour of Rakhyout city; a stopover at Sha’at and then proceed to famous Fazayah beach. The rush of vehicles towards Al Marnif cave takes the visitors automatically to Mughsail beach area while sunset at Aftaqout is marvelous to catch.
The guide suggests keeping the third day mostly for eastern Salalah and areas like Ain Sahalnut, Shear Road, Ain Razat, Taqah Fort, the famous Wadi Darbat, view from Darbat heights, Samharam Archaeological site, Taqah cave, sunset viewing from Taqah city and a panoramic evening of Taqah city.
Fourth day should be left exclusively for Salalah city, for Salalah Tourism Festival ground, malls and experiencing authentic Omani dinner at several restaurants spread over in Itin. The famous meat dishes cooked on hot stones are served at Al Magabi restaurants.
Fifth and sixth day suggested in the guide are for places like Wadi Dawkah and Shihr (Wubar) Archaeological site, but at those places there is hardly any impact of Khareef. It is up to the visitors to explore. Shihr (Wubar) Archaeological site is some 170km from Salalah. Further down is Alkhathef desert or Al Hashman desert. These locations are best suited during the winter season due to heat conditions prevailing over there. These sites are not covered under monsoon (Khareef).
So those who are looking to see Khareef can cover eastern region of Dhofar on day five and visit Taqah and Mirbat castles.
It is always better to give long time to Salalah, but for those who have less time but want still to cover most of the places during Khareef, this Ministry of Tourism guide is very handy.