An exploration of Oman wouldn’t be complete without a visit to its second-largest city, Salalah. Located in southern Oman, Salalah is an hour and forty-five minutes away from Muscat by plane. It is a unique city, boasting an incredible monsoon season in July and August (called Khareef) and beautiful places to wander year-round.
Here are our recommendations for five must-see things in this special place (although there are certainly more than just these)!
1. Khor Rori Beach
It takes about half an hour to drive to this spot east of Salalah. The beach is rarely busy the sand is clean, and you can climb a little ways up the cliffs that guard the sides of the beach and jump into the water below. A short hike will take you to the top of a plateau that overlooks a spectacular expanse of ocean scenery. There you can explore the ancient ruins that date back to 100BC. For a more relaxing activity, check out the small museum with local artifacts. The museum also has restroom facilities available for use. A marshy inlet holds great spots for birdwatching and exploring. There is an entrance fee per vehicle ( 2 OMR) which is included in the cost of your tour. Don’t forget sun protection for this beach as there is little shade available.
2. Mughsayl’s Blowholes
On the other side of Salalah about half an hour away is a spot called Al Mughsayl. This is another beautiful beach to explore, with plenty of room for people to spread out. There are well-spaced gazebos for a private picnic, or you can set up mats and umbrellas on the sand. A parking spot past the beach area hosts some vendors selling food and souvenirs, as well as a public restroom. From the parking area, it’s a short walk over stone-paved paths to Marneef Cave. This cave is more of a rocky overhang with benches set up in the shade and a wonderful view. Walk down a series of steps (with handrails) to see the grated tops of the well-known blowholes. The height of the spurts of water will depend on the time of year you visit—the fountains can shoot water over 90 feet (30 metres) high during Khareef!
3. Ayn Razat
After exploring areas east and west of Salalah and seeing for yourself some of the best things this region has to offer, a trip to Ayn Razat will amaze you with the beauty located just 15 minutes from town. This mountain spring is bookended with two shallow caves with steps leading up to them and places to sit in their shade. A sprawling, well-manicured garden fills the valley with splashes of color all year-round. This is a popular place to come and have a picnic. Relax to the sounds of the bubbling waterfalls coming from the mountain, watch the tiny fish swimming in the stream, and listen to the birds chirp as they flit back and forth between the trees in the garden. This is a peaceful place to get away and be refreshed during your time in Salalah!
4. Al Baleed Archeological Museum
This is an important stop for those wanting to know more about Oman’s history. The entrance fee is included in your tour cost. The museum is divided into two indoor sections: The Hall of History and The Marine Hall. The displays outline the history of the area from 2000 BC until modern times. Surrounding the museum are the ancient ruins of Al Baleed, a once-bustling port in the frankincense trade. Landscaped paths weave around and through the ruins and are the perfect place to watch a sunset. After dark, the paths are well-lit and the reflections of the lights on the water are especially beautiful.
5. Wadi Darbat
This wadi is located 45 minutes outside of Salalah and boasts a lake that is spring-fed year-round. There are trees on the mountains surrounding the lake, with numerous places to set up a picnic or take a nap in the shade. The parking area has a small shop that sells cold sodas and water, as well as some simple food items. You can rent a paddle boat to explore the lake on your own, or get a guide to take you out on the water. During Khareef, there are boats for children to play in, as well as kayaks for rent. Also during Khareef, some amazing waterfalls come crashing into the lake from the mountains above and make this a spot you won’t want to leave! Wadi Darbat is also a good spot for taking pictures of birds and camels. If you enjoy exploring, the nearby mountains have several camel paths that weave across the steep slopes and provide a unique adventure.
Come see these amazing spots for yourself and decide what you would add to a list of the best places to visit in this unique city. Contact one of our Oman experts for info about a customized tour to Salalah!