Central Coastal Oman
- Masirah Island - A desert island experience awaits on this haven for turtles and other wildlife.
- Wahiba Sands - Massive rolling dunes as far as the eye can see.
- Bimmah Sinkhole (Hawiyat Najm Park: 'Meteor Fall Park') (6 km south of Dibab/Dabab, off of the rd from Qurayat to Sur). A deep sinkhole about 0.5 km inland from the coast, filled with blue-green brackish water. The locals say that a meteor fell on this spot of land, resulting in the natural depression and forming a small lake. The sinkhole is located within a walled park, with picnic and toilet facilities. Swimming is permitted. The sinkhole is connected to several cave networks, as yet not fully explored. Free.
- Ras al-Jinz Turtle Reserve (45 km south of Sur), ☎ +968 9655 0606, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Escorted tours daily at 21:00; reservations recommended. This area is a critical nesting beach for the endangered green turtle, and is under the protection of the Ministry of Environment. The only way to visit is with an escort, and groups are limited to 15 people. September to November is the best time to witness both egg laying and turtle hatching. OMR 3 (adults), OMR 1 (children).
Wadi Bani Khalid
With pools and a cave, this is a justifiably popular outing easily accessible from Muscat.
- Head south of Ibra on Highway 23, and turn at the sign for 'A'Rumail' and 'Wadi Bani Khalid'.
- Turn left at the village of Mizayra. Follow the main paved road for 6.5km to a car park. A short distance beyond this is a large natural pool, perfect for swimming.
- The trekking path E35 begins on the right side of the pool; this is a challenging 2-day trek across the mountains to Wadi Tiwi on the coast. A 20-minute walk along this path passes along smaller pools and eventually brings you to Miqil Cave (Muqal Cave), marked by a set of concrete steps. A headlight or torch is required here.
- Turning right, rather than left, at Mizayra will bring you to the village of Bidah with some seasonal waterfalls. A 4-hour trekking path toward the village of Sayq begins here.
- Wadi Ash Shab (Wadi Shab) (1½ hrs south of Muscat, off of Hwy 17). One of the most beautiful – and popular – wadis easily accessible from Muscat, with water year-round. The entrance is underneath the Highway 17 overpass, with ample parking and toilet facilities available. The path begins on the opposite side of the waterway, and local boatmen charge 200 Bzs to ferry visitors across. The partly concreted path winds past a falaj (irrigation) system, palm plantations and villages, and steep rock faces. Eventually the concrete disappears and it is necessary to do some scrambling before emerging to a series of inviting water pools. A hidden cavern can be visited by swimming through the pools, accessible only by swimming underwater for 1-2 metres. Plan on three hours for the round trip.
- Occasionally after winter rains the pathway will be washed out in sections and therefore trickier to follow. Also, it is strongly advised to wear modest swimwear (and do not simply change into it in the open!). While Omanis may be too polite to say anything to visitors who ignore this simple courtesy, they find it deeply offensive.
- Wadi Tiwi (access from exit for Tiwi village, off of Hwy 17). The village of Tiwi marks the starting point of a challenging off-road drive. The beginning of the road is paved, but shortly after passing the village of Harat Bidah degrades to a dirt track before terminating at the village of Mibam.
- E35 trailhead. This challenging 2-day, 28-kilometre trail connects with Wadi Bani Khalid (described above in 'Itineraries'). There is plenty of parking at the trailhead.
- Majlis al Jinn (Majlis al-Jinn / Khoshilat Maqandeli) (off of Hwy 17). This cave has the second-largest chamber in the world, and was discovered by American hydrologists in 1983. The cave can only be accessed via free-rappelling from the roof with 200 m of rope. Currently plans are underway to improve public access; in the interim cavers must obtain a special government permit. Access is via a rough dirt track requiring a sturdy 4WD.
- White Sand Beach (5 km south of Fins, via a dirt road along the coast). Great for snorkeling; no facilities.