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The Sultanate of Oman is the gateway to the Arabian Gulf and was for thousands of years the focus of the frankincense trade route. An ancient nation of maritime traders Oman’s empire at one point extended down the East African mainland as far as Zanzibar. Strategically situated between India and Europe, the influence of Oman’s historical trading partners has left its mark on the population, which is both tolerant and cosmopolitan. Arabic is the official language, although English is widely spoken in some areas. The Musandam peninsula is completely separated from the main body of Oman by a stretch of land belonging to the United Arab Emirates. Musandam has developed distinct language dialects and cultural mores. A huge pale limestone massif with steep strata crossed cliffs descending into the sea, the Musandam peninsula has remained isolated from the rest of Arabia and is still very remote. The area is sparsely populated by the Shihuh tribe, who for centuries have been carving a precarious existence from the seas. Some villages can only be accessed by boat. The capital of Musandam, Khasab, has a population of around 16,000 inhabitants. The Musandam peninsula is separated from the rest of Oman by the United Arab Emirates. Geographically, the area is characterised by large sawtooth mountains, which fall dramatically into the sea. The coastline itself is carved into countless fjords, bays and islands. The stunning scenery above the surface is reflected underwater by impressive drop offs and an incredible diversity of healthy corals, encouraging strong currents
The waters surrounding Musandam and the Straights of Hormuz provide very fine coral reef diving. The combination of plankton and strong local currents attract a great range of pelagic species over 900 species of fish, ranging from cleaner wrasse through to whale sharks and includes both manta and eagle rays. There are over 25 established dive sites within 60 minutes boat ride, subject to local conditions. As the region is remote and commercial fishing is not permitted, the volume of marine life is very noticeable and leaves a lasting impression on divers. Numerous shark species can also be encountered, as well as most species of turtle. The dive sites themselves range in character from walls to extensive coral gardens. The combination of plankton and strong local currents attract a great range of pelagic species, which includes both manta and eagle rays, along with whale sharks. The dive centre's boats are often accompanied by dolphins, which like the calm waters of Musandam’s fjords. Numerous shark species can also be encountered, as well as most species of turtle. The trade off for the high concentrations of larger marine life is underwater visibility, which typically lies in a range from 12 and 20 metres. The dive sites of Musandam deliver world class adventurous diving to experienced divers. Although the area is remote, access is via a non-stop seven hour flight into Dubai from a variety of British airports. Here are just some of the more popular sites in which you can dive: Inchscape 1 (Wreck) is a wreck sitting upright at a depth of around 30 meters depending on the tide. The wreck is small and it is possible to go around it several times during a dive. She is lying upright with her bow facing south, and is fully intact. This is probably the best site in the area and can be quite challenging due to strong currents depending on the tide. There is a resident giant honeycomb moray which lives in an old A/C unit, his name is Fred and he makes a good subject as a photo opportunity. There are sometimes very big cowtail stingrays and yellow fin barracuda as well as red snappers, trumpet fish, file fish and scorpion fish. Martini Rock is one of the best known dive sites in the United Arab Emirates, just south of Khorfakkan, Martini Bay. It is a huge pinnacle rising from 22 meters deep to 3 meters deep just below the surface. Martini Rock is known for its many green sea turtles, which swim around the rocks and nibble on its coral. Sea horses live in the deeper parts near the rock, most easily found during summer. Leopard sharks, spotted eagle rays, guitar sharks and more common reef sharks have been seen at this phenomenal dive site occasionally. Dibba Rock is a small island and dive site just offshore Fujairah. Luckily the surroundings of the islands are saved from fishermen and shell collectors. Night diving packages are easily arranged. Ras Marovi (depth 30m) is an interesting rock formation on
Temperatures remain high throughout the year. The coastal areas have a hot and humid season from May to September (average 32-40 degrees C). The humidity during the hottest months can affect air visibility. From October to April air temperatures are pleasant during the day and cool at night. The annual rainfall in most parts of Oman rarely exceeds 125mm and generally the weather is good.
Other activities include desert safaris, exotic bird watching and rock climbing
Please always check your own entry requirements regardless of your nationality. Your passport should always have at least 6 months validity on date of return from travel. Always check for last minute chances in entry requirements and other nationalities should check with their consular office.
Vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure. For the most up to date advice please consult your travel clinic or GP. There are no compulsory vaccinations for travel to Oman, but we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and polio.