The remote Omani exclave of the Musandam Peninsula (reached from Dubai rather than Muscat), features some of the most dramatic scenery in Arabia, with soaring mountains, secluded beaches and some of the world's best diving - all within easy reach of the UK. With its honey-hued cliffs falling steeply into the Strait of Hormuz, the mountainous Musandam Peninsula is often compared to the fjords of Norway for the beauty of its deep bays in which dolphins dance, and its jagged coasts dotted with fishing villages. These 'Arabian fjords' are a draw for divers, sun worshippers and sea kayakers alike, and
for truly original Musandam holidays consider cruising the fjords in a traditional dhow to see the region from the water. As one of the least visited - but most breath-taking - regions of Oman, holidays in Musandam are a lesson in straying from the beaten track and uncovering hidden corners of a destination. Combine your tailor-made exploration of the labyrinthine fjords with a visit to the region’s capital – Khasab – which sits wedged between vertiginous cliffs and the sea. Wander around the city’s bustling souq and watch fishing boats ambling in and out of the harbour.
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What can you find in the Musandam Peninsula that you won't find anywhere else?
Cut off from the rest of Oman, the Musandam Peninsula is surrounded by the shiny glamour of the United Arab Emirates, but dances to an entirely different tune. While it may be one of Oman’s least visited areas, don’t let that fool you into thinking it lacks beauty; nicknamed the ‘Norway of Arabia’, the dramatic Hajar Mountains jut fiercely into the blue waters of the Strait of Hormuz, creating lofty fjords known as khors, steeply carved cliffs, islands, beaches and caves. Visit Khasab, the provincial capital of Musandam, and roam its 17th century castle to soak in the extensive history of the region. Top up your vitamin D stores on empty beaches and search for signs of energetic dolphins in the bay or plunge into the deep blue yourself and dive or snorkel in the turquoise waters to get better acquainted with the underwater creatures that lie below. If you’re feeling brave, hike the Musandam Peninsula’s highest peak, Jebel Harim, for panoramic views of dramatically plunging mountainsides that stretch into the horizon. Musandam Peninsula holidays are an exploration of Oman’s undiscovered wild side.
What can you expect on Musandam Peninsula holidays?
A dramatically beautiful slice of Oman that sets itself apart from its motherland both geographically and spiritually, Musandam Peninsula holidays are an exploration of a largely untouched natural wilderness in the Middle East. Visit age-old fishing villages that hug the coastline, stumble upon smugglers coves, hike and bike on magnificent peaks, or simply do nothing amidst wonderful scenery and swim in the turquoise sea before enjoying private dinners in your luxury villa with a butler at your service.
Special things to do in the Musandam Peninsula:
Dhow coastal cruise
Musandam Peninsula’s khors, that extend steep rocky fingers into the ocean, are best viewed by a traditional Omani wooden boat called a dhow. While on board, you can spot dolphins, stop off for a snorkel and feel the full drama of the breath-taking cliffs, inlets and craggy peaks that surround you from all sides.
Paraglide into Six Senses Zighy Bay
Watch the awe-inspiring scenery open up before your eyes as you paraglide over the endless desert landscape. See mountain peaks slice into the sparkling blue sea as you gently drift downwards, eventually landing on the soft sandy beach of Six Senses Zighy Bay.
Discover underwater landscapes
Holidays in Musandam are well-suited to avid divers, with the waters surrounding the peninsula boasting incredibly biodiverse sea life. There are no barrier reefs here, and instead you dive beneath the towering cliffs which descend into the depths. The best thing about diving during Musandam Peninsula holidays? The sense of solitude you’ll experience while exploring this relatively private diving oasis, thanks to the lesser-known nature of this destination compared to the Red Sea.
Explore the souqs of Khasab
Visting Khasab, the region’s capital, can add even more authenticity to tailor-made Musandam holidays. It may be small but it’s far from quiet, with its bustling harbour and colourful souq. Listen to locals bartering over goods in Kumzari (a compound language of Arabic, Farsi, English, Hindi and Portuguese), pick up some unique souvenirs and explore the city’s well-preserved fort, built by the Portuguese in the 17th century.
Musandam holidays are best suited to the winter months, from October to March, to avoid the often scorching temperatures of summer. Between May and August, the mercury can soar as high as 40°C, however during winter it sits much more comfortably in the mid-20s. January is the wettest month, so best to avoid if you wish to make the most of the dramatic landscapes and traditional dhow cruises.