You know Oman for the rich dates your friend once brought you, the spice souks you can get lost in, serene white-sand beaches and inevitably, for its capital port city, Muscat. Beyond these commonly-linked associations, however, lies a world of indescribable beauty. The middle-eastern country is home to rare wildlife, gorgeous nature spots and a diverse topography.
A pod of humpback dolphins can often be seen bobbing through the waters in Khasab, Musandam. A dhow (traditional wooden boat with a mast) ride will take you amidst the waters where you will be surrounded by the rocky ffjords and small islands.
It&rsquos turtles all the way down at Ras Al Jinz in Oman, where the endangered green turtle, called the Cheloniamydas, can be found in plentitude. Baby turtles nest on the sands there, and scramble and amble along to the water as soon as they hatch. At this beautiful fishing village, one is officially allowed to watch the nesting process of the turtle, while maintaining a distance from them. The best time to watch the process is between May and September. Other species of turtles&mdashthe green olive riddles and the rare hawsbill turtle&mdashalso nest on smaller beaches in Oman.
A School of Fish
It&rsquos hard to think of Oman and not be reminded of its stunning coasts and deep Indian Ocean waters rife with tropical fish and teeming coral. Travellers often take to the sea by dhow to catch a glimpse of the underwater delights the country has to offer, or take a deep dive by snorkeling or scuba-diving their way in. Daymaniyat Islands is known to be one of the best scuba sites here from where you can witness sea horses, turtles, nudibranchs (a soft-bodied, colourful mollusk) and of course, other fish in the sea.
Whale, Hello There
Whale-spotting in Oman is an exciting activity. The water of the sultanate are home to many types of whales&mdashtropical whales, blue whales, pygmy killer whales, among others. Mirbat especially is a seaside town, from where trips can be taken to spot humpback whales in the water.
The Arabian Orynx, Nubian Ibex and Arabian Leopards only a few names in the list of endangered species that are present in Oman. The Orynx (a gazelle) and other animals such as sand cats, foxes and caracals can be found in Wusta, a desert region, while the critically endangered Arabian Leopards prowl the arid highlands of Dhofar. Beautiful flamingoes, eagles, and other beautiful birds can be spotted in Masirah&rsquos mudlands and all along Oman's coast.