Arabian Gulf’s Best kept secret!

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This secret is about to get unfolded as you will read and see the beautiful images of Musandam, a governorate of the Sultanate of Oman which is further down Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.  Musandam is a peninsula and has a small population of 24,000 residents mainly residing at Kasab and other smaller regional centres. Kasab overlooks the straits of Hormuz that divides Iran and Musandam.

One needs a visa to go to Musandam. Visitors from over 40 developed countries can obtain a visa on arrival and most of them use UAE as a transit point. Resident visa holders of UAE can travel to Musandam via Rak or Fujairah. It is about 60 Kms from RAK border and therefore a tank full of fuel will be sufficient for a round trip. It took us about 5 hours from Abu Dhabi by road, obviously with several breaks to enjoy the beauty of the terrain which at some points reaches over 2,500 meters high. A small misadventure got us grounded at one of the road side beach and help came through two Omanis and a Canadian tourist who were well equipped and helped us out.

















You will need your passport, Dhs. 25 for an exit revenue card to the UAE immigration, Dhs. 50 for a visit visa to Musandam and a car Insurance (can be processed earlier or at the border for Dhs. 200). It is advisable to carry Omani Riyals or a credit card for the visit visa payment to the Omani immigration.   Give yourself 20-30 minutes depending on number of passengers for this process, as you will need to fill up exit forms. There are a few hotels at Kasab but the reasonable and the best being Golden Tulip (Costs Dhs. 500/++ per night inclusive of a lavish breakfast). However given the safe location and hospitable Omani citizens, one can camp at the various camping spots.

One of the star attractions besides the Kasab Castle and the small Omani villages at the foothills of the Al Hajar mountains is the Dhow Cruise that sails close to the cliffs. It is a 4 hour trip in a traditional Omani boat and one can see Dolphins in their natural habitat. To admire the dolphins you must first watch the Dolphins at the Dubai Dolphinarium and see how the ones at their natural habit will out perform their counterparts in captivity. The dolphins did various stunts close to our boat and 10 of them followed us on either side of our boat for about 5 kms at breakneck speed.  One can do a bit of snorkelling at the telegraph island (now abandoned where cables were laid way back in 1860 from Basra to facilitate communications) and our boat captain found a butterfly fish that was promptly out back to the water.

During the Eid Holidays one could consider Musandam as a great get away to scenic nature and tranquillity in the right sense of the term to Musandam and arguably one of the most beautiful places in the Arabian Gulf that makes most westerners call it the ‘Norway of the East?. Visit following sites for more info: 

Author: Oneal Hector DCunha- Abu Dhabi

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