The silent surprise of Bandar al Saqla


About 30 minutes from Al Ashkarah is the seldom visited Bandar al Saqla — one of Oman’s hidden treasures made remarkable by its long stretch of uninterrupted golden beach.
Here, only the rock-solid buildings of Al Saqlah Tourism  Camp dominate the landscape offering visitors rooms with great views of the ocean.
Some barastis are scattered at the nearly 5km long pristine beach and the only people who frequent this piece of paradise are the fishermen who make the place their jumping point for fishing and the expats who work nearby who usually settle by the rocks for some leisure fishing.
Giant boulders of rocks plank the hill where the camp is perched. The nooks in between these rocks become home to small seawater fishes and during our visit, even by jellyfishes who got trapped between the stones during the high tide.
One would not expect to find such a serene beach in between Mahoot and Sur. While relatively unknown to the majority of travellers, some locals had been calling this place their personal favourite escape because of its utmost privacy and the remoteness of the place result to fewer visits and therefore less ocean trash.
On the left side of the camp is a paradise for different migratory birds. In late August, the temperature is relatively pleasant that one of the suggested activities is bird watching.
In an interview with Oman Observer in 2018, camp owner Mubarak al Mukhaibi had long known of the potential of the area and it is for its beauty and what it can offer to travellers that he decided to set up the camp where it is now.
The construction of the resort started in 2013 and was completed in 2016 and in its two years of operation, now enjoys frequent visits from those seeking an off-the-beaten-path location with private access to the beach.

A memorable weekend escape
Ahmed al Jaabri had visited Bandar al Saqla back when he was still in his teens. He shared that together with his friends and family, they used to spend days camping within its shores.
“It’s a breathtaking place. You can’t find many places in Oman with this long, peaceful beach,” he said.
“When I was younger, my friends and even sometimes family, use to come here. We will spend maybe three days camping here just enjoying the pleasant weather during the summer and the silent, yet remarkable beauty of nature,” he said.
“I’m not surprised that not a lot of people have discovered this place. You need to be a real adventurer to come all the way here to enjoy the beach. From Sur, this place is almost two hours away and making the right turn is challenging,” he said.
Al Jaabri said that even he missed the turn the first time and he has already been to Bandar al Saqla several times in the past.
“Finding the way even with the help of a map is quite challenging. The phone reception is one of the problems; there’s little to no signal. You have to watch out for the road sign saying Bandar al Saqla to make the right turn,” he said.
Al Jaabri said that little has changed in the last ten years in the area. He pointed out that the only difference this time is that there’s already a resort.
“If you visited this ten years back, it’s totally empty except for the barastis of the fishermen. I am happy that the cleanliness of the place is preserved and that different kinds of birds still come here,” he said.
“If you are the kind of person who likes going off the grid and loves the beach, the wave and sand, this is a perfect destination for you. Camping here in the evening, it’s peaceful, and you will have a good view of the night sky,” he said.