SALALAH (صَلَالَة)

Salalah, the capital of the Dhofar region, is a colorful, subtropical city that owes much of its character to Oman’s former territories in East Africa. Our first stop was the newly completed Sultan Qaboos Mosque. This single-dome mosque with two minarets was a gift from His Majesty to the people of his mother’s hometown, Salalah.

After that, we drove to one of the more centrally located beaches in Salalah for our two-day break. Dhareez Beach feels relatively upscale and is popular with residents. It has family facilities, beachfront restaurants, small mobile food vendors, a palm-lined oceanfront parade, and purpose-built shelters. It’s a chill place and quite different from many Omani beaches that typically have minimal facilities. It’s quiet and deserted in the morning till 5 pm.

On the way out from the Salalah, we stopped next to the ancient ruins of Al Baleed. It belongs to the 12th-century trading port of Zafar. Frankincense was shipped from here to India in exchange for spices. Little is known about the port’s demise, but the excellent on-site Museum of the Frankincense Land charts the area’s settlement since 2000 BC and illustrates the nation’s maritime strength, including its recent renaissance. The site includes several kilometers of landscaped paths, and the adjoining reed beds make for good birdwatching. You could take an electric vehicle (500 baisa per person) for a 20-minute lap of the extensive grounds. There’s also a handicrafts shop and cafe on site.

Parking location – Dhareez Beach: 17.011555N 54.176753E (🚻,💦)