Just 7 hours away from the UK, Oman is situated on the south-eastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula and was until recently something of an enigma, closed off to the outside world. Over the past few years the country has opened its borders to travellers and is rapidly gaining a reputation for the quality and variety of its diving.
Oman enjoys great natural assets. Breathtaking mountains plunge directly into the Arabian Sea along large sections of the country's 1700 km of coastline. Once inland, the mountains give way to extensive sand dune fields, desert and forts. The country has a rich history, much of which is visible to visitors.
Oman Marine Life
Whilst there are regional variations, Oman's waters are best known for the following: Sting, Eagle and Torpedo Rays, some species of reef sharks, especially Leopard sharks; a wide variety of Moray eels, especially honeycomb, pepper and yellow mouth; Green and Hawksbill turtles; Spiny lobster, Snake eels, Nudibranchs, Squid and Cuttlefish, Porcupine, Lion and Scorpion fish. Regular reef and schooling fish include Batfish, Parrot fish, Angel fish, Trevalli, Snapper and Barracuda.
Whilst infrequent, it is not unknown for spots of whale sharks during the Summer months, the odd Sun Fish (Mola Mola) and an elusive sea horse or two!
Coral growth is generally exceptionally healthy, with boulder coral, whip coral, staghorn coral, orange cup coral and cabbage coral to name a few.
These waters are very plankton rich and therefore water visibility may be less that you have experienced in other areas of the world.
Divers of all experience levels can enjoy the dive sites accessible from Muscat, the capital of Oman, and the coastline that leads south from here. The diving is mostly well established, with over forty recognised sites including the renowned Daymaniyat Islands, Bandar Khairan, and Fahal Islands. There are few currents and dives range in depth from ten to thirty metres, along coral flanked stony walls. Plankton rich waters attract a large amount of marine life, which includes many pelagic species.
Dive boats occasionally encounter both Pilot whales and Whale sharks. Five species of turtle are found in Omani waters, including the elusive Hawksbill. In addition to turtles, divers often see both Devil and Eagle rays. The sheer amount of life and quality of strongly coloured corals found on the reefs of Oman leaves the most lasting impressions on the memories of most divers.
Situated in the southern area of Oman's Dhofar region, the unspoilt coastline, stretching as far as the eye can see, offers sheltered bays to explore in an area steeped in history and heritage. Set against the stunning backdrop of deserted beaches and the high Jebel Al Qara rising steeply out of the Dhofar mountain chain, this area offers a level of excitement and adventure hard to find in other destinations so close to home.
Small kelp forests can be seen during the Summer months, fed by the thermocline rich waters which gradually die out in the latter weeks of September and early October. Due to local prevailing conditions, these dive sites are only open to divers seasonally from October to May. It remains a beautiful area to visit outside of this time, but you are not guaranteed to be able to dive every day though the dive centres remain operational. From May, the northern edge the monsoon creates a phenomenon called the 'khareef', bringing in moisture rich winds turning the beautifully barren desert plateaux and gullies verdant green.