Khasab: The Norway of Arabia

Oman is one of the few countries in the Middle East which can proudly boast of a geological diversity. One such place in particular is Khasab in the Musandam peninsula, which is unique to Oman in the context that Oman is an Arab country. If you aren’t aware of Khasab or Musandam, let me just inform you about the basics first!

Khasab is the capital of the Governorate of Musandam, it is located 570 kilometers from Muscat. Khasab, thankfully for travellers like us, is still quite traditional. There is a town centre and souqs a few establishments and beautiful mosques but it is still largely. Hence, it has a peaceful environment and a certain charm that is difficult to find.

The  juxtaposition of sea and mountains is considered one of the exclusive features of this area. Excursions in boats and traditional dhows give the visitors an unforgettable experience, while divers can see the beautiful coral reefs and archaeological sites are also abound in this area. Seeing the beautiful inlets of sparkling blue water cut into the mountains, you will realize why this part of Oman is called ‘Norway of Arabia’. The gorges and mountains, clearly showing their geological stratification, have cliff-hugging roads that offer magnificent views of the cliffs, plunging into the turquoise sea , and the inlets and fjords that give the peninsula its very distinctive footprint.

As you would imagine most of the local people wear traditional dress, women in black and men in white (dishdasha). Khasab Castle overlooks the harbour and there is also an exhibition in the castle courtyard featuring local boats, houses and other items relating to heritage and culture of the area. The busy work of fishermen and boat builders can be seen in and near the harbour. The colourful dhows that cruise out amongst the fjords (khors) leave from here, as do the fishing boats.

 

The coastline around Khasab is 650kms long and passes through many small rural villages, the houses made of stone- and is worth exploration. At nearby towns like Bukha and Tawi, there are ancient ruins with pre-historic rock carvings- and 16th century forts still standing proudly. Interestingly Kumzar, a nearby town, has its own particular dialect, formed centuries ago and influenced by foreign maritime contacts.

So if you wish to see a place like you have never seen before and are ready to embrace the life without modern amenities, Khasab is a must visit for you.

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