‘All Good Things are Wild and Free’ – Henry David Thoreau
This quote came to my mind as I sat down to jot down my road trip memories to Musandam. After the nine years of living in the UAE, long weekends have become synonymous with road trips for me and my family. While the company joining us, might change from time to time, the fun and memories made during the trip are always going to be treasured by me.
There are two directions to reach this gem of a place called Musandam in Oman. One near Dibba and the other one that requires UAE residents to acquire an Oman visa at the check post. We started our journey from Dubai through the latter route, much before dawn and were welcomed by the warm glow of the sun rise as we drove on the highway.
A few hours later, tall rocky brown mountains towered on both sides of the road with dotted houses scattered at the foothills. The windy roads running parallel to the coastline reminded me very much of my trip with my friends down the populous Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia.
Musandam provides the impression of being a big sleepy ocean town in Oman, nestled between those mountains.
It is a popular tourism destination for UAE residents and Oman residents alike. Putting my tourism research cap on, I would mark this place as a sustainable tourism destination and the following reasons are why.
Visitors often make pit stops at either of the two forts that are in town on their visit to Musandam.
It’s hard to describe the feeling of being inside one of these Arabian forts that dates centuries. We walked up the wide stone steps to be transported to the olden Arabian times, minus the soothing Arabic music. Dark red carpets are spread inside rooms which are cooled by the natural ventilation systems and is something for an architectural study. Within the fort compound was a basement room with wide steel bars that depicted the dark life of a captured prisoner.
Boat ride with an added surprise
I had intentionally left the best part of the trip till the last in the blog.
After a delicious lunch at what looked like the only big shopping center in town, we booked for tickets for the famous three-hour boat ride with one of the tour companies. The boat docking station bustled with tourists and tour operators and we hopped through a few boats to reach our long wooden motor boat. The boat welcomed us with a setting of dark red cushioned seating and carpets, and an array of fruits and beverages for visitors.
Jumping Dolphins and Crystal Seas
The turquoise blue water was a sight to behold, as the boat cruised along, with the wind sweeping across our hair. Everyone around me laid back on the cushions, and enjoyed music created by the gentle laps of water against the boat.
This calmness was interrupted by some shrieks as we caught some movement in the sea. Alas, we had spotted some grey dolphins!
These beautiful creatures answered to high pitched whistles by one of the boat drivers and that started the row of sighting of various dark and light colored dolphins that circled around our boats. While these gentle creatures were quite hard to spot in the dark blue waters, they traveled in pairs and made sure to shyly show the tip of their nose out the water for our wonderment. Nature and marine life are truly mesmerizing and it was great moment to see these creatures in the wild in the country of Oman.
The town has really preserved the nature and culture by promoting the forts and dolphin watching. Stricter requirements on the distance to keep between the dolphin and boats and littering into the sea are some areas to be improved upon.
Must recommended trip
For all you travelers, Oman has a whole list of other beautiful spots to see but make sure Musandam is on your sustainable travel destination list for 2017.
Signing off until next time xx