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Oman

General Information

Languages : Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects
Currency : Omani Rial (OMR)
Time Zone : EST +9hrs
Capital City : Muscat
Population : 3 Million
Government : Monarchy
Total Area : 82,031 mi²
Climate : Dry desert; hot, humid along coast; hot, dry interior; strong southwest summer monsoon (May to September) in far south
National Holidays: Birthday of Sultan QABOOS, 18 November
Additional Info: The second largest country in Arabia with the most diverse landscapes including fjord-like rugged mountains in the far north,  magnificent tracts of desert and a lush south. Panoramic beauty can be viewed in its mountain ranges, deserts and sand dunes.

Destination Activities


Activity Details

The best time to visit Oman is between October to April, when the cooler air brings the mountain scenery sharply into focus and daytime temperatures average 77 deg F. Avoid Oman in June-September - it is hot and humid with probable rains in the south. Also don't forget the fasting month of Ramadan - sometimes best to avoid visiting during this period.

Ecotourism

Oman is known for its popular tourist attractions. Wadis (valleys), deserts, beaches, and mountains are areas which make Oman unique to its neighboring nations. Jebel Shams is Oman's tallest mountain, highest point, and is a popular destination for camping.

Oman is becoming a noteworthy destination for bird watching, attracting avid bird watchers and ornithologists the world over. More than 460 different bird species have been recorded in Oman. Oman offers a unique opportunity to watch birds from Europe, Africa and Asia in one spot. During their annual migrations in spring and fall, millions of birds pass across the length and breadth of Oman and an impressive selection can be seen in Muscat Capital Area.

Dolphins frequent the seas of Oman on a regular basis and can be seen in close proximity to the coast from Musandam in the North all the way down to Dhofar in the South. Whales can also be found swimming in the waters of Oman, albeit less frequently, in particular the Humpback and the Orca. Fahal Island is a good destination to spot Dolphins in hundreds roaming around or following the tuna. Spinner, Common and some Bottlenose dolphins are the main types. Orcas playing round the island have also been reported.

Cultural Activities

Untainted by overdevelopment or money madness and ruled by an unusually sensible and respected Sultan, this kingdom offers great beaches, rocky mountains, a classic desert, forts and friendly, tolerant locals.

The Oman capital, Muscat, which is located on the Indian Ocean coastline, has both marinas and beaches, along with ancient sights, museums and modern and traditional shopping areas. Check out the following must see sights:

» The old port area, see the imposing sights of the Sultan's palace and the two hill-top forts (Portuguese-built in the sixteenth century) of Jalali and Mirani. These forts cannot be visited as they are used by the police still.

» A fort that can be visited is the Muttrah Fort and once you catch your breath back from the 100-step climb, the views are breathtaking. Check out the recently restored watch tower.

» The Sur Al Lawatiya area of Muttrah is a great spot for seeing Muscat's traditional architecture, with a network of narrow streets extending out from Al Jami Mosque. This district can only be accessed through one of the main gates through the old city wall.

Photography



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