Scenic Musandam, Oman
Musandam is the Northernmost part of Oman that borders the straits of Hormuz, which is the entrance to the Arabian Gulf and one of the most important waterways in the world. At their narrowest, the straits are approximately 30 kilometers separating Oman and Iran. Most visitors arrive in Khasab, Musandam's capital city, by ferry from Muscat or by cruise ship.
The Musandam Peninsula is a great place for nature lovers. You can take the traditional Omani Dhow boat and sail towards Masandam longest fjord with calm turquoise water that contrasts with the creamy white limestone cliffs and enjoy the breathtaking view of mountains rising from a distance or you can enjoy the same breathtaking scenery from the beach.
Take a short trip from Khasab to Bhuka and experience one of the most dramatic coastal roads in Oman. It's pretty amazing. You will skirt through the narrow road between the mountains and the sea. Massive rock formations seemingly growing out of the waters with all sorts of geological formations walled the roadside.
Most of the rock formations rise almost vertically from the water, separating the land from the sea like a knife cut.
Occasionally there's a gentle slope back from the water to a hillside with a small village mainly inhabited by fishermen. Walk to the top of the hill to see a panoramic view of the sea. On a clear day, you'll see Iran from where you're standing. Stop at the beach to take photos or just enjoy the view.
Enjoy the scenery in Bukha, a small town overlooking the sea and backdropped by the mountains. It has a well-preserved fort with many watchtowers and is surrounded on three sides with a dry moat. The fort is seemingly part of the natural landscape.
Don't ignore the colorful birds that seem to come from nowhere. They will pose for the camera as if telling you that they too are part of the landscape.
If you’re not into nature, there’s not much to do in Khasab. I did not find a souq. There are a few stores selling a variety of tourist goods including souvenirs from Abu Dhabi and saffron from Iran. When you first arrive in Khasab, you may notice that the harbor/pier is empty. Don't worry, your guide (if you have a guide) will tell you that it gets busy at sundown when the boats carrying smuggled goods arrive from Iran.
The most visited site in Musandam is the Khasab Castle built by the Portuguese in the 17th century near a fishing village. Although it's smaller in comparison to similar forts and castle I have visited, it is somewhat unique and looks updated. It has a square outer wall with a rounded tower and rectangular towers in the 3 corners and a circular tower in the middle of the courtyard. Now, it is a museum showing historical and traditional objects such as the winter house or lock house made from date palm stems, atop stone pillars, and with palm frond walls, floor, and roof. Also, traditional fishing boats made from palm dates are on display at the courtyard.
The 2nd floor consists of display rooms showing elements of Oman's history and tradition.
NOTE: All photos by the author