Unforgettable encounters with whale sharks, turtles and dolphins in Oman. Swimming once in a lifetime with a majestic whale shark, accompanying adorable baby turtles on their way to sea after hatching or watching dolphins play in the waves – these experiences are on many people's minds. bucketlist.. Such activities can often only be experienced at destinations in a very seasonal way. In the Sultanate of Oman, visitors can tick all three boxes on their list for much of the year with just one trip and take home lasting memories.
Also read: Top 10 most Instagrammable places in Oman
Snorkel with whale sharks in Muscat
Whale sharks are huge but gentle creatures and completely harmless. From July to November, the world's largest fish, with an average length of six to ten metres, are particularly comfortable in the plankton-rich waters around the Gulf of Oman.
A few kilometers from the capital Muscat, in the Daymaniyat Islands Nature Reserve (location here ), visitors can get very close to the peaceful giants by snorkeling, diving or swimming. The starting point for a boat trip is the Marina Al Mouj, where several local providers such as MolaMola Diving Center or Daymaniyat Shells offer guided tours – from around 60 euros. The fascinating sea giants can also be found in the Omani exclave of Musandam.
Sea Turtles at Ras Al Jinz
Wrinkled skin, a strong carapace and 225 million years on earth – sea turtles are the oldest living reptiles and seem to date from another time. That is probably the reason why people have a special fascination for them.
Near the coastal town of Sur in Oman, about a three-hour drive from Muscat, is the Ras Al Jinz Nature Reserve. This is one of the few beaches in the world where sea turtles come ashore all year round to lay their eggs. Four of the seven extant species, mainly the green sea turtle, but also the loggerhead sea turtle and the loggerhead sea turtle and the olive ridley sea turtle, nest here on this beach. Adult females return to their birthplace every two to three years and lay 50 to 200 eggs in a sand pit, depending on the species, often up to three times during a single breeding period. About 55 days later, the big hatching begins.
The best time to see turtles in Oman is during the hot summer months. However, the rest of the year is also a good time to watch both the laying and incubation of the eggs. The Ras Al Jinz Scientific and Visitor Centre, which also offers accommodation, organizes guided tours to the turtles at night and in the early morning hours. Since Ras Al Jinz beach is not public, you can only visit it with a guided tour. Furthermore, the island of Masirah and the beaches at Duqm and Salalah are also popular nesting grounds for turtles.
Dolphins hunting and playing at Salalah
They are skilled, fast hunters and fond of sardines – dolphins. In the Dhofar region in the extreme south of Oman, around the city of Salalah, a real spectacle awaits visitors with a bit of luck. Large schools of sardines gather here off the coast and attract dolphins.
You don't even have to get on a boat to view them; from the high cliffs that surround many of the region's beaches, the black shadows in the sea are clearly visible. Before long, the first shining back suddenly emerges from the blue ocean and rushes after the sardines; Moments later, a whole school of dolphins shows up.
The clever animals can also be viewed up close from a boat, organized for example by the local Around the Ocean. It is not uncommon for half a dozen dolphins to accompany the motorboat, playing in the waves with elegant jumps. Especially from November to March, many schools of sardines swim off the coast of Salalah, attracting countless dolphins.