DIVING HOLIDAYS IN OMAN
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White sandy beaches fringe the plain to Salalah, in the south of Oman, stretching for miles along the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea. Dive sites at the Hallaniyat Islands are relatively untouched and new sites are being discovered all the time. A fantastic variety of rays, moray eels and nudibranch along with large grouper, turtles and dozens of fish schools can be seen as well as a Portugese wreck. Salalah waters are unusual in that small areas of kelp forests can also be found, especially post Khareef season.
Liveaboard diving in Oman is year round but from October to mid-May the diving is at Salalah, in the south of Oman, the best departure point for exploring the Hallaniyat islands, a region only opened for diving in 2011. From the end of July to September, the liveaboard sails to the northwest of Oman around the Daymaniyat Islands. The diving area is virtually untouched and poorly understood, so be prepared for anything.
DIVING SEASONS IN OMAN
The best time to visit Oman is between November and mid-March, when the cooler air brings the mountain scenery sharply into focus and daytime temperatures average 25°C. For the rest of the year, much of Oman is oppressively hot and hazy, particularly between May and August. The redeeming summertime feature is the khareef, the mid-June to late-August rainy season in southern Oman. Many Gulf visitors flock to this area to picnic under the drizzle on Dhofar’s grassy hills. The rain (and the green) vanishes by mid-September The peak tourist season in the north is from November to mid-March.
TRAVEL HEALTH FOR OMAN
Oman is generally a very safe country. There are no compulsory inoculations if traveling from the UK, although vaccinations against tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers arriving from an infected area.
Advise changes from time to time however so we ask that you ask your travel health expert (e.g. GP, practice nurse or travel clinic) to provide you with the most up to date information and vaccines to ensure your travels are safe and enjoyable. Travel health advise can be found on www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk
OMAN ENTRY REQUIRMENTS
UK / EU passport holders: A full 10 year passport valid until at least 6 months after date of return. A one-month visit visa, required by all nationalities except for citizens of Gulf countries, can be obtained by many foreign nationals (including those from the EEC, the Americas, Australia and New Zealand) at Seeb International Airport in Muscat for OR6.
OMAN TRAVEL MONEY
The unit of Oman currency is the Omani Rial, abbreviated to OMR. Moneychangers keep similar hours to banks, but are often open from around 4pm to 7pm as well. They usually offer a slightly more competitive rate than the banks, and most charge only a nominal commission of 500 baisa per cash transaction. American Express is accepted, as are other major credit cards. There are over 65 ATMs in the Sultanate of Oman. Travelers cheques are easily exchanged. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveler’s cheques in US Dollars. Most banks will change US-dollar travelers cheques for a commission.