Summer in Oman offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience a climate quite different to the rest of the Arabian Gulf. The summer monsoon season brings cooler, rainy weather to Salalah, where this month sees the start of the Salalah Tourism Festival. Also, only a couple of hours drive from Muscat, visitors to Oman’s capital city can enjoy a transformation in the weather and marvel at the fresh mountain air & cool temperatures up on Jabal Akhdar.
With more than 1,700kms of coastline, amazing mountain scenery and vast open deserts, Oman offers an array of activities which will definitely keep visitors busy this summer. Guests can experience high altitude trekking some 3,000 metres above sea level, visit unique underground caves, enjoy amazing scuba diving off Muscat’s coast and July and August is also the best time to see the giant green turtles nesting at Ras Al Hadd.
The Salalah Tourism Festival 2009 was inaugurated yesterday under the auspices of Sayyid Hamoud bin Faisal al Busaidy, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs and in the presence of Shaikh Mohammed bin Marhoon al Maamari, Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar, General Supervisor of the Festival.
The Salalah Tourism Festival has evolved as the most exciting showcase of the season in Oman’s second largest city. Previously known as the “Salalah Khareef Festival’, the Salalah Tourism Festival boasts of a wealth of activities, events and displays designed to entertain, amuse, educate and enchant. With a host of cultural, heritage and entertainment activities, this 45 day long festival scheduled to be held from 15 July to 31 August, 2009 has become an added delight for the thousands of tourists flocking to Salalah for the cooling temperatures of the summer monsoon season.
With folklore troupes and many cultural events, as well as a fun carnival for children, the Salalah Tourism Festival, being held at the Municipality Fair Ground, is sure to appeal and captivate the imagination of the thousands of visitors who throng to the city during this season.
The Salalah Tourism Festival promises wholesome entertainment this year encompassing entertainment, sports, culture, literature, education, amusement games, cuisine, and traditional arts. With cartoon shows, amusement games, camel and horse rides, comedy shows, exciting games, a theatre and competitions on offer there is loads in store for children at the festival.
Many of Oman’s sightseeing tour operators offer great savings during the months of June to September. What better way to explore the amazing countryside than in the comfort of an air-conditioned 4x4 vehicle. Once up in the mountains, guests will enjoy the cooler mountain air and the most spectacular views of Jebel Shams, some 3,000 metres above sea level. This full day tour, offered by Mark Tours leaves your hotel at 8 am in an air-conditioned 4wd for the two hour drive into the interior. They take you via the Sumail Gap that divides the Western and Eastern Hajar mountains to Nizwa, the capital during the Julanda Dynasty. After a short stop here, you drive on towards Wadi Ghul which is a spectacular deep canyon in the mountain range out of which rises Jebel Shams the highest peak in Oman at 3,000m. It is a steep thirty minute drive up the mountain. Here it is much cooler and during the summer the air is fresh and inviting. The area is home to weavers of heavy woolen rugs in distinctive red, black and geometric designs. You will come across these weavers on the top, offering their wares. The view of the canyon from the rim is breathtaking. You will have lunch at the camp near the rim. Before the drive back to Muscat you will visit Misfa, a village seemingly hewn out of rock. The houses cling to the rocks and look precarious but they have been here for centuries. A short walk along a path of rock, well polished by time brings you to a point overlooking the falaj and water pools. You can walk, following the falaj to an area where there are date plantations surrounded by the steep slopes of the mountains.