Salalah is Oman’s second largest city and the administrative capital of Dhofar. Dhofar is dramatically different from the rest of Oman, or for that matter anywhere in the Gulf, mainly because it is the only region in the Gulf that receives the annual monsoon showers, locally known as khareef.
- Follow in the footsteps of the Queen of Sheba at the ruins of Khor Rori
- Head out on the Frankincense trail in search of these enigmatic trees
- Stop at a roadside stall for a deliciously thirst quenching fresh coconut
- Head up into the lush, green Dhofar mountains after the Khareef rains
- Explore the fascinating collection of weapons and tools at Taqah castle
The land is rich and fertile and the landscape lush and green. The coastline is laced with coconut groves whilst clouds and mist shroud the mountains and after a heavy rainstorm the water cascades down through the mountains to the sea. Temperatures hardly ever rise above 85° F, making it the perfect area for many to escape from the heat further north.
Dhofar covers a third of the country and has a varied terrain. The high dunes of the Empty Quarter are found here, as well as unexplored caves and numerous sinkholes in the steep mountain vales, whilst the coast offers lovely beaches with good snorkelling and diving.
Salalah is steeped in myths and legends associated with it dating back to biblical times. The ruins at Khor Rori are reputed to be that of the palace of Queen of Sheba. Another connection of the region to biblical times is the presence of frankincense trees in Dhofar. Locally know as luban, the whole region has the characteristic smell of burning incense.
The castles of Taqah and Mirbat offer a fascinating insight into the region’s history. Taqah castle was used as the residence of the Wali of Taqah until 1970. The ground floor of the castle has a prison, a reception hall, a guards room and some storage rooms, whilst the upper floor has the watchtowers and the family quarters of the Wali. The rooms now display numerous exhibits such including some interesting weapons. The little town of Mirbat is also well worth a visit as you can see the fishing boats come and go and also see the castle renowned for the 1972 battle involving the SAS. A little out of town is the bright white tomb of Mohammed Bin Ali.