Musandam, located on the tip of the UAE, is an upcoming tourist destination. The unspoilt beaches, the spectacular inlets, and the beautiful winding roads are just some of the many reasons why this place is termed as the ‘Norway of Arabia’. The mountains here rise in a geometric manner, turning it more unusual. If you are planning to travel to this region of Oman, and are still uncertain on how to spend your time, try out these 5 best things to do in Musandam to have an unforgettable trip!
1. Explore the time-honoured Khasab Castle in Khasab
Khasab, a port city on the Musandam Peninsula, is a must for your travel itinerary! Check out the capital’s Khasab Castle, built in the 17th century by the Portuguese, in order to protect the Strait of Hormuz. Today, the renovated castle features a museum showcasing weapons, clothes, gems and jewellery. In the collection, there is a traditional hand mill and a lock house too. Khasab has restaurants serving Lebanese, Omani, and Indian cuisines. Avid shoppers should not miss out on spending some quality time at the traditional souks, shopping for souvenirs!
2. Go for a thrilling 4WD in the Hajar Mountains
Hajar Mountains have several valleys, each known as a ‘Wadi’ in the local language. These Wadis offer adventurous activities to thrill-seekers. Among the first things to do in Musandam, enjoy a highly recommended four-wheel drive in the Wadis of this place. The adventurous drive has many stops where you can get off the vehicle and roam in the area. Among the Wadis, the Wilayat Khasab is a popular site for the Jabal Hareem Fossils – fossils of fishes and other marine animals. Their geological age is around 250 million years old!
In the Wadi Shab and Wadi Rawdha, there are small canyons cutting through the mountains. The most sought-after adventure sports here are cliff jumping, canoeing, and swimming. The valleys have trekking and trailing routes for those interested. You can even go camping at some designated spots. The mountain ride at Jabal Hareem mountain is totally unforgettable! In this route you can find fascinating fossils and ruins of the ancient civilizations. Appreciate the spellbinding view of the mountains from Sayh, a small town that comes en route. The final destination of this mountain ride is Khor Najd, a rocky terrain offering jaw-dropping views of the Indian Ocean.
3. Camp in the Spectacular Bassa Beach
The water of Bassa Beach is calm and warm, making it ideal for water-based activities like swimming. The beach is clean and shady, featuring many eating joints for foodies. Camping is allowed in certain areas of the beach. In fact, you can opt to camp at any of the remote beaches located around the city. This can be your first ‘wild camping’ experience. On a stormy day, attractive shells wash out near the tents – if you’re into collecting shells, you’re guaranteed a treasure! Don’t freak out if you spot sharks swimming in the shallow waters! They do not target humans, generally. Nature lovers must go for camping in the Bassa Beach area. Carry your camera for taking some amazing shots of the surrounding scenery.
4. Participate in the Dhow Boat Ride at Strait of Hormuz
The Strait of Hormuz, a water body separating Oman from Iran, is one of the world’s busiest strait with nearly 20-30 tankers and ships traversing everyday. There are magnificent islands and rocky formations that make the place extremely scenic. Among other things to do in Musandam, make sure you savour a cruise on a traditional dhow boat. Tourists can take a day or a night cruise too. They sail from the port in Musandam to small villages like Nadifi, Qanah, and Maqlab. These cruises are a perfect way to admire the ancient houses and the local culture and lifestyle of the fishermen. There’s also a cruise that takes you to the Telegraph Island. In the Khor Shem Fjords, stop to admire rock formations that resemble wild animals. Avid bird-watchers can spend some time at Bird Island. Dolphin watching is a favourite amongst tourists.
5. Do Paragliding in the Zighy Bay
Located in Zighy Bay, the Six Senses Zighy Bay is probably the world’s only village-style resort that lets you check-in by paragliding. The 20-minute paragliding journey, after showcasing breath-taking sights from hundreds of meters above the ground, ends at the resort’s private beach. Of course, there’s an alternative way to reach the property from the mountain top, that is by driving – but that’s too normal, isn’t it! Zighy Bay, on the Musandam Peninsula, is a picturesque region flaunting the Hajar Mountains and an untampered coastline to all. Here, you can enjoy the culture of Oman and buzz of the UAE simultaneously. With both contemporary and traditional attractions, you are bound to make your travel experience truly extraordinary.