The Sultanate of Oman boasts some of the world’s most diverse, aesthetic and relaxing natural locations in the world. Tourism in Oman has been increasing and with the word about the country’s beauty spreading, ecotourism here has been gaining momentum and is now one of the most popular tourist attractions. A treat for every taste, Oman has many things to offer its visitors like the cooler highlands of Jabal Akdhar, the stunning stretches of sandy beaches in Musandam, the sands and dunes of the deserts of Sharqiyah and the lush greenery, rain and fog of the Dhofar region in the far south and so much more.
The capital of the Dhofar region, Salalah is the second largest city in the Sultanate second to the capital city of Muscat. Salalah attracts thousands of tourists from within the Gulf and around every year especially during the Khareef season, which starts at middle June and lasts until the end of September.
During this time, the region experiences regular drizzling and rain along with periods of intense fog changing the topography of the area – the mountains turn green, the temperatures drop and the desert turns into an oasis of misty pastures. Many with farms and plots of land often grow vegetables and fruits in this period, something that cannot be imagined in the northern parts of the country wherein the summer months the air only gets drier and the temperatures continue to soar.
Along with the change in the vegetation, the monsoon also welcomes another fascinating phenomenon – waterfalls! Other than the cooler temperatures, these waterfalls reappear, pouring out of the mountains and bringing back life to the surroundings.
Amongst the many waterfalls that appear during this period, Ayn Khor located in the western part of Salalah attracts tourists from all over the world during the Khareef season. The source of the fall is located in the highest mountain at Wadi Jardum around 20 kilometers away from the city of Salalah near the Raysut Cement Factory. The waterfall is accessible with regular cars although 4×4 are recommended in case of unexpected weather changes.
What makes this site a sight to behold is that seeing the waterfall in all its glory is a rare sight as it appears only during the months June to September and only reaches its full strength and glamour if the mountains and the source of the waterfall experiences a period of moderate to heavy rainfall.
At its strongest, Ayn Khor’s loud roar and rumbling can be heard from miles away and whether you enter the wild waters or witness its beauty from afar, there is no doubt it is a memory and experience that one could never forget.
Ayn Khor’s crystal clear water is collected in a rocky, turquoise pool below which also attracted hundreds of visitors testing out its cold, untested depth.
In the recent past, Ayn Kour has witnessed accidents and drowning which has caused tourists to hold back from visiting the site. in August, 2017 the Public Authority of Civil Defences and Ambulances (PACDA) has warned the public that the water front of Ayn Khor is not safe for swimming. Despite warnings, visitors continue to endanger their lives and their children’s by ignoring the safety warnings put in place.
For those visiting, it is important to remember that at the end of the day, the waterfall is strong and the currents are fast and one should keep cautions and avoid entering the deeper waters as to not endanger their lives.
Keeping the safety measures in mind, it is completely safe otherwise for visitors to visit the area as it is a site that one mustn’t miss. Along with the various lively and vibrant sceneries and the cultural festivities that the Khareef season and the city of Salalah have to offer, Ain Kour is one of those eye catching and memorable sites that travellers and tourists from around the world should add to their bucket lists.
SIHAM AL SAIDI & TITASH CHAKRABORTY