Salalah is famous for its seasonal weather which lasts from July to September, locally known as monsoon or “Khareef”, when it transforms the desert terrain into a lush green landscape, its hills surrounded by white fog, light drizzles to cool the air and creates seasonal waterfalls. Monsoon winds from the Indian subcontinent blow up to southern Arabia and bless the desert with a bounty of rain. The parched beige desert is aglow with green. It is surreal and otherworldly.
Tomb of Nabi Umran (PBUH)
It is also said that he may have been the father of Moses. His stone sarcophagus is 33 m long, which has given rise to speculation that he may also have been a giant. It is a pleasant place, with a small mosque and the building housing the tomb, at the back of which there is a small garden with peacocks, guinea fowl and other birds. Visitors must remove their shoes before entering, and women must cover their heads with a scarf.
Tomb of Nabi Ayoub (PBUH)
On the walls of the building are verses from the Holy Quran. Near the tomb, a small stone mosque which is believed to have been used by Nabi Ayoub[PBUH] for prayers. It is advisable to take off your shoes before entering and women must cover their heads with a scarf.
Footprints of Prophet Saleh’s Camel
Sumhuram Old City
An impressive ruins of the ancient port city of Sumhuram, which dates back to the 1st century AD. The city was an important frankincense-trading hub in ancient times due to its strategic location. Today, it is an impressive archaeological site with a beautiful location on a hill, overlooking Khor Ruri and the sea.
There are extensive stonewalls as well as a temple, residential area, storehouses and gateway to the harbour. A number of finds from the site, including cooking pots, jars and jewellery, are on display in the Museum of the Frankincense Land at Al-Baleed.
Entrance to the city is via the remains of a small gateway, inside of which you will find two beautifully preserved inscriptions commemorating the foundation of the city, carved in the ancient South Arabic (or “Old Yemeni”) musnad alphabet.
The city’s most impressive surviving structure is the Temple of Sin (the Mesopotamian moon god), built up against the northwest city wall – look out for the finely carved limestone basin in the ritual ablution room within.
Visitors to the site can find Bronze Age fortifications from the small-fortified town as well as a local palace ascribed to the Queen of Sheba. Inscriptions at an entrance gate confirm the name of the town as Sumhuram. Today, Sumhuram is one of four sites listed on UNECSO’s Land of the Frankincense World Heritage site.
The site is a couple of kilometres from Taqah, which itself is about 40 kms from Salalah. A visitor fee of OMR 2/- per passenger car gains you access to the ruins of the fortified city, entrance to the museum and a chance to go close to Khour Rori where seawater mixes with sweet water from Wadi Dirbat at high tide.
The Frankincense Trail
For nearly 5,000 years a rather unsightly Boswellia tree, which produces a heavenly fragrance was considered to be Arabia’s most precious commodity. During the height of its popularity the Boswellia – better known as the frankincense tree - rivalled gold, silk and gems in value and spawned a vital trade route that for centuries extended from Southern Arabia into West Africa and India.
The frankincense trees of Wadi Dawkah and the remains of the caravan oasis of Shisr/Wubar and the affiliated ports of Khor Rori and Al-Baleed vividly illustrate the trade in frankincense that flourished in this region for many centuries, as one of the most important trading activities of the ancient and medieval world.
Lost City of Ubar
The lost city of Ubar is an ancient city on the Arabian Peninsula in southern Oman. Remains of the city were discovered in 1992 by archaeologists using remote sensing equipment. Ubar is believed to have been populated from about 2800 B.C. to about 300 A.D. and to have been an important trading outpost, at one time.
Al Baleed Archaeological Site
The area has been developed with footpaths to the ruins and information throughout, making it a very pleasant and educational trip for all family members. A khor (“ خور ” a ravine in Arabic) also passes through the area adding to the charm.
Entrance fee is OMR 2/- per passenger car; this also includes the entrance fee to the Frankincense Museum, which is located on the park complex. The museum displays various artefacts discovered in Al Baleed and Sumharam ruins, as well as a whole section covering Omani maritime history including beautiful models of Omani ships past and present - highly recommend it for anyone visiting Salalah!
You can see the marks of the sea’s constant labour at the shore in caves it has scooped out of the rock.
One of the main attractions here is the Blowhole. Through an underground channel, seawater rushes in at high pressure and jets out in a geyser - like spout on the cliff. Matching with the force of the waves, the spouts can rise several metres high.
The blowholes are eroded limestone formations that shoot water about 10 meters from the ground can be due to wave refraction. The blowhole is the cynosure of the beach, and during kharif, tourists from all over the Gulf flock here to enjoy the benefits of Salalah’s unique climate.
The shepherds used the caves as shelter and one can see coloured paintings of animals on the cave walls. At the end of the Wadi, there is a cave, which is considered to be the largest natural cave in Oman. There are lots of stalls in the wadi selling fresh fruits and mosquito repellent (which is a must!), and you can also get a boat to paddle in the lake!
Boat Ride at Wadi Darbat
Various types of boats are available (only in Khareef season) to choose from. One is powerboat, which has a capacity of more than 2 people and its driven by the motor. This will cost approximately OMR 5/- for a round of the lake. Paddleboats are available for ride of 2 persons. This will cost OMR 3 for a ride of 30 minutes. Wear Joggers for paddleboat, as it will be very comfortable and make paddling easy. You must wear safety vest during the ride, which is provided by the boating company.
A watchtower located on a hill behind the castle is part of the complex but was built at a much later date, and is not open for visitors. Taqah Castle is in Taqah and the entrance fee is OMR 500bz per person.
Salalah Anti Gravity Point
Souq Al Haffa
This is the traditional market and main market in Salalah and the place for buying traditional Omani items from clothing, Souvenirs, Scarf, Fragrances to gold and silver handicrafts and of course a wide variety of frankincense! If you are here during the Salalah Tourism Festival you may also see a traditional Dhofari dancing performance.