Oman Cruises

Cruising in Oman

Located at the entrance to the Persian Gulf, Oman is a country with an ancient history: fossil records indicate the first humans in the area—nomadic peoples arriving from Africa—lived more than 100,000 years ago. Stone Age settlements, millennia-old cage paintings, and other discoveries attest to the country’s long history, and many of these are accessible to visitors.

Muscat is Oman’s capital city, and its past as a major trading port is still evident in its bustling maze of market streets, with pungent spices filling the air, and all manner of hand-made goods and exotic food for sale. There are some interesting ruins and cultural sites to visit in and around the city—the enormous sandstone Grand Mosque, richly decorated and adorned, the centuries-old Nakhl Fort, at the base of the Hajar mountains, and Wadi Shab, a gorgeous oasis with bright emerald pools of water, that feels absolutely magical, and only gets more beautiful the further into it you travel.

Salalah is a smaller city and easier to get around in, although due to the heat, it’s often preferable to avoid walking during the summer months. The area known as the Haffa is the old city, and it features a market with a wide range of local goods, including frankincense, a sweet-smelling resin obtained from Boswellia trees, and a long-time trade staple for the city. In Salalah you can also view the Al Baleed archaeological site, believed to date to 2,000 BCE; there are some interesting educational exhibits to view here as well as the excavated ruins of the ancient city.

Much of Oman is hot and dry, with scattered rainfall in some locations. January often brings rain to Muscat, but some parts of the coast remain dry throughout the year. Salalah’s weather is unique, with an annual monsoon season known as the khareef, which brings heavy rainfall to the surrounding mountains. In the summer months of April to October coastal temperatures rise to over 30 degrees Celsius, with temperatures peaking in the high teens to low 20s during winter. Inland temperatures are much higher, with high 40s common on the desert plains.

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