Discover the extensive reefs of southern Oman and the Hallaniyat Islands! Departing from Mirbat’s small harbour, the itinerary will be exploratory in nature, for divers comfortable in a relatively remote location. The experienced Egyptian crew, in tandem with Oman based dive guides already familiar with many of Mirbat and Salalah’s exciting dive sites, join you in discovering the enormous wealth of sites on offer.
Sitting in the waters straddling the north Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, the Hallaniyat Islands comprise five islands lying in an east to west string in the south-eastern waters of Oman’s Dhofar district; Al Hasikiyah, As Sawdah, Al Hallaniyah, Shinays & Al Qibiliyah. (The islands may also be referred to as the Khuriya Muriya Islands.)
The largest island is Al Hallaniyah at 56 km², the others being relatively small, but this remote string of islands offers a wealth of dive sites to be discovered.
Al Hallaniyah has a village community of around 150 people, but there are currently moves to develop the island for its strategic shipping location, with plans for a substantial harbour port by 2013. The geography is typical of the rugged desert like peaks typical to Oman, with its highest point at approximately 465 meters.
City of Winchester wreck
Sitting in 28 - 30 metres of water, this historic 150m long vessel holds the spurious title of the first British ship to be sunk in an act of war by Germany in WWI. Read this interesting article penned by Steve Dover in April 1999 and published in Diver magazine >
Rumours also abound of other wrecks from the famous fleets of Vasco da Gama. Are you ready to make your first discovery?
Humpbacks, if you are lucky!
Reliable, relatively frequent reports of humpback sightings are known, along with some of their smaller cetacean friends; the dolphin. A good chance of manta rays, large grouper and superb coral on relatively shallow reefs will enthral divers.
Please note that water visibility can be changeable in this area of the ocean, averaging around 20 metres. Divers should each travel with their own surface signalling devices and observe conservative dive profiles due to the location of the itinerary.
Muscat (May to September)
The Daymaniyat Islands
The Daymaniyat Islands helped place Oman on the world dive map. This string of offshore islands North of Muscat has been placed under the protection of UNESCO and provides divers with pristine coral gardens, walls and abundant fish life. Various shark species are encountered here, including the occasional leopard sharks.
The Daymaniyat Islands are open year round. However, the best diving conditions are found in the area from April to October due to the wind direction and better clarity in the water, plus, June to September are the best months to have the chance to encounter whale sharks. This is offset by the fact that air temperatures can be very hot and conditions humid. Water temperatures will still vary due to the thermoclines by drops and rises of +/- 8 centigrade from surface to depth.
Bandar Khairan is an area of outstanding beauty, boasting rocky outcrops, deserted beaches and small islands accessible only by boat. The underwater scenery is similarly dramatic with picturesque walls and reefs festooned with healthy finger and fan corals in purples and green, teeming with marine life. The shallow, sheltered dives of Bandar Jussa, which are great to dive in all conditions, afford lovely, simple night diving experience.
Al Munassir Wreck
In 2003 the Al Munassir, a 3000 tonne vessel, was sunk at Bandar Khairan and is beginning to develop into a beautiful artificial reef dive.
The Fahal Islands towards the north boasts an incredible variety of coral species. There are two small wrecks, which draw a large amount of marine life, including the occasional black tip reef shark, various rays and turtles.
Into Muscat & Salalah: Flights with Oman Air direct into Muscat from London Heathrow. Connecting flights to Salalah from Muscat.
Into Dubai: Flights with Emirates into Dubai non-stop from London Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newcastle (conditions may apply on certain regional departures).
Flights with Emirates via Dubai from London Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newcastle (conditions may apply on certain regional departures) - Supplement will apply.
Flight Duration: Approx. 7 - 8.5 hours
Departure tax: n/a
Passports & Visas
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 travel.
Always check for last minute changes in entry requirements. Nationalities other than British citizens should check with their own consular office.
All UK nationals require a visa, which can be obtained on arrival.
- Stays of 1 to 10 days: OMR 5 (est. USD $13)
- Stays of 10 days to 1 month: OMR 20 (est. USD $52)
Travelling into Dubai, for Musandam: On arrival in Dubai, UAE, British passport holders will be issued with a tourist visa free of charge.
Clients departing from Al Dibba may not need an Omani visa, however please go prepared in case of change of regulation.
You also pay 25 AED border exit fee.
Travelling into Muscat or Salalah: British passport holders may purchase an Oman tourist visa on arrival.
Twin centres between Musandam, Muscat and Salalah: Route dependant if you are travelling by land, sea or air.
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. Further information regarding vaccinations for travel to this country can be found at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk and from your local healthcare provider. There are no compulsory vaccinations for travel to Oman, but we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and polio.
MV Saman Explorer
"Just back from an excellent trip on the Saman Explorer around the Hallaniyat islands. This is a well appointed liveaboard (NB Complimentary 15L cylinders if desired). The staff and food were excellent. Andy Travis, the enthusiastic dive guide, established a safe and relaxed approach to the diving. This is a remote area with limited support if anything goes wrong but the diving is not very deep. Many of the sites hadn't been dived before and thus was a real adventure - sometimes real gems, others unlikely to be repeated. As the brochure notes, the vis is not comparable to many diving destinations but there is an incredible abundance of life to look at. We missed out on the whales but saw many mantas and a leopard shark. It was great to land on and explore some of the islands.
If you have the time, consider taking the Mountain, Desert and Beaches extension. Oman is a fascinating country and this is a quick way to get a flavour of this amazing country.
Graham Illing - UK | 09 November 2012
MV Saman Explorer
Great time on Saman Explorer
"A really easy week of liveaboard. Apart from the City of Winchester wreck at 28m, a shallow week of laid back diving suitable for both relative beginners, and for those looking for a change from the Red Sea. No humpback whales on my trip unfortunately, but an awesome dive with a pod of dolphins! Plenty of Rays, and even Leopard Sharks. Lots of interesting life about. A refreshing change of scenery to Egypt. Great stuff!
Bryce Ford - UK | 16 May 2013
- Area: 212, 500 sq. km
- Population: 2.9 million
- Language: Arabic, English, Farsi, Baluchi, Urdu
- Time: GMT + 4
- Electricity: 220 / 240v, 50Hz, British style 3 pin plug