Is Khasab The Most Spectacular Place In Oman?
There are a lot of spectacular places to visit in the Sultanate of Oman, but the beautiful fjords and crumbling mountains of Khasab are up there amongst the best that this Arabian nation has to offer.
I visited courtesy of Dolphin Khasab Tours, a local tour provider who showed me the best of the Khasab fjords on a traditional Dhow Cruise.
We set sail from the harbour to explore the inlets and islands, seeing remote Omani fishing villages, spotting dolphins and snorkelling in turquoise water.
These Photos From The Dhow Cruise Might Just Inspire You To Visit Khasab Too!
Khasab is one of the most isolated cities in Oman. It’s an exclave located on the Musandam Peninsular, a mountainous region separated from the rest of Oman by the United Arab Emirates.
It’s not an easy place to reach. On one side there’s mountains, and on the other, the Strait of Hormuz. Khasab is closer to Iran than to the rest of Oman.
The city is surrounded by mountainous fjords that stretch for miles from the harbour, forming a spectacular network of inlets and waterways and giving rise to the name, ‘The Norway of the Middle East’
The ONLY way to explore the fjords is by boat. And a traditional Omani Dhow boat is best of course.
Dolphin Khasab Tours really lived up to their name. Within half an hour of setting sail from the harbour in the city we came across the first pod of dolphins, Humpbacks swimming and diving alongside the boats.
It’s not just dolphins in the fjords though, no. There’s also a lot of goats. Given the steep, rocky nature of the Musandam Peninsular, goats abound, and the locals somehow manage to herd them around these jagged cliffs.
We passed small Omani villages up and down the fjords. There’s no roads, and the only access in or out is by boat. There’s even school boats to take the children to nearby Khasab.
The Omanis from that particular village can reach Khasab in about ten minutes in their speed boats. It took us an hour in the Dhow, with a few dolphin watching stops of course. The guys in the speedboat above are actually Iranian smugglers taking cigarettes over to Iran, it only takes them an hour in those boats to cross the Strait of Hormuz!
Telegraph Island- Jazirat al Maqlab to the locals- is the site of the ruins of a British Telegraph Repeater Station which was built in 1864 and abandoned not long after when the Brits stationed here couldn’t cope with the heat and the boredom. On the island I learnt from a fellow Dhow cruiser that the phrase ‘going round the bend’ in fact originated here, as being stationed on Telegraph Island- which geographically is around the bend of the Musandam Peninsular- inevitably resulted in a delirious loss of all senses in the extreme conditions.
Telegraph Island is a good spot for snorkelling, being fringed by a small reef and surrounded by turquoise waters. But snorkelling alone probably wouldn’t have been enough to keep the British who were isolated on this tiny island sane for too long though.
With calm waters and innumerable rocky inlets to explore, another way to keep marvelling at the pleasant scenery surrounding you is to hit the water with a kayak.
After expending too much energy constantly gawping at the spectacle that is Khasab and the Musandma Peninsular the Dhow crew served up an on board feast of home cooked curries and rice. The perfect compliment to any afternoon of Dhow cruising in the fjords.
The fjords of Khasab really are one of the most spectacular places in Oman, and after snorkelling, dolphin watching and gorging on curry there’s little left to do but enjoy the incredible view from the deck of the Dhow!
All Photographs Property Of Richard Collett
My Full Day Dhow Tour was provided complimentary by Dolphin Khasab Tours, a local operator who provide eco friendly tours in Khasab and Musandam. All the opinions in this article are of course my own though, and after experiencing Khasab with them I would certainly recommend them as an excellent way to see the fjords.