In April, we travelled to Oman over Easter, specifically the northern area of Musandam. If you are not aware, Oman is actually separated into some geographically isolated areas, take a look at the map on the right to find them. In fact there is an area of Oman surrounded completely by the UAE, and in turn, there is a small enclave of the UAE inside this area. However, we visited the beautiful coastal exclave around Khasab in the north.
The drive from Dubai took around 3 hours - keeping in mind we stopped a few times on the way and probably didn't take the most efficient route. It's an enjoyable drive, partly through the desert and partly along the coast.
Enjoy the photos of the trip below.
The Coastal Drive
Driving along the coast one encounters a lot of interesting spots, with boats, mosques and small cities dotted alongside the mountains.
A big empty plot near the expanded artificial harbour is used for a game of football.
Trees on the Mountain
Interestingly shaped trees are dotted alongside the mountain ranges surrounding Khasab. Have not figured out what kind of trees these are yet though.
Cars of Choice
Range and Land Roevers are the cars of choice for the well established local.
Wisdom built over centuries is probably passed through generations at this place.
There were a few beautiful houses with amazing doors like this one dotted around the city.
The moon was rising over the mountains one night, casting a bright light over the valley in which Khasab is set.
Along the Coast
One of the small bays along the route from the UAE to Musandam, with a small village set along the road.
Up on the Cliffs
We drove (and walked) up some of the cliffs along the mountains as well, and encountered some beautiful scenery.
Boats are a very important method of transportation in this area. In fact, some villages can't be reached at all by car and only barely by foot.
These are everywhere - driving hazards as well.
The castle of Khasab is set at the entrance into the city and was built in the 17th century.
Photos of the ruler and past rules are dotted around the city.
Khasab City Center
Surprisingly, there is a relatively nice and modern city centre set away from the sea.
Khasab Center Mosque
The main mosque in Khasab isn't particularly outstanding, but still one of the most impressive buildings in the city.
... does not seem a major concern.
Homes with Style
It's not uncommon to see homes with extensive decorative elements.
Despite popular assumptions, even in more conservative places like Oman, female kids are running around playing like their male counterparts.
A very typical scene.
Say Hi to the cool kids!
In your face!
A Chat at Sunset
Two locals sitting by the canal into the harbour and discussing life. One of the mosques is visible in the background set against the mountain backdrop.
Mosques & Mountains
One of the smaller mosques set against the mountains at sunset.
View from Atana Musandam
This is the view from the hotel we stayed in, looking towards the west over the mountains.
Two local women walking through the sand.
On our boat ride through the fjords we saw some strange things - such as this freezer in the mountains. Unfortunately we didn't get to see any dolphins, even though they are quite common in the area.
Some of the villages around the Fjords are only accessible by boat.
The larger dhows are still used for transporting goods over the sea. Inside the fjords, they are mainly used for touristic purposes, and the original wooden ones have been replaced by more modern models out of polycarbonate.
View into the Fjords
We took a day trip around the fjords north of Khasab. While the weather wasn't ideal, the view was beautiful at times.
As mentioned, some villages are not accessible by road. Here you can see why this is the case. Notice the power lines coming in over the mountains. Water is often stored in large containers and provided by the Omani government.
Going for a Swim
The fjords are great for snorkelling - although we did encounter some jellyfish...
Our captain on the dhow.
Someone decided to climb up here to draw the Omani flag in the middle of this remote mountain in the fjords.
Notice the beautiful shapes and colours along the mountains.
Another remote home - here you can see the water container I had mentioned earlier.
This rock is not coloured white...
The biggest and newest hotel in Khasab - fairly pleasant, but not outstanding.
The artificial canal built around the harbour is used for locals to park their boats.
The birds used small holes in the walls of the castle as breeding grounds. On the bottom right of the whole you can see a small glimpse of a chick that already hatched.
In the towers of Khasab Castles, a number of parrots were breeding. I was able to capture this shot through one of the old firing holes in the tower.
View over Khasab Castle
A view over the Khasab Castle with the Omani flag.