Salalah’s Green Flora Beck­ons

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It is that time of the year when the dry brown moun­tains of Dho­far re­gion turns into re­splen­dent green. As an­other Kha­reef beck­ons us, Salalah once again be­comes Oman’s coolest des­ti­na­tion to visit dur­ing the sum­mers. Be it the crisp un­pol­luted air, the cool misty clime, the high rolling seas or the thick car­pet of green­ery all around, Salalah is a must visit place dur­ing Kha­reef. So wait no fur­ther and plan a week­end get­away to this land of green­ery, show­ers, and seren­ity.

Kha­reef is a col­lo­quial Ara­bic term used in South­ern Oman, South East­ern Yemen, and Su­dan for the South East Mon­soon. When the whole of Ara­bia ex­pe­ri­ences a swel­ter­ing heat, Salalah be­comes the ideal get­away dur­ing Kha­reef that ends in Septem­ber. While there are many idyl­lic places to visit through­out the year here are some of the must visit places dur­ing Kha­reef sea­son.

Wadi Dawkah

This is a nat­u­ral park of fa­mous frank­in­cense trees, and Unesco in­scribed as the World Her­itage Site. Lo­cated around 40 kilo­me­tres North of Salalah on Salalah-Thum­rait-Mus­cat High­way, this is a habi­tat for Boswellia sacra type of frank­in­cense trees and the trees are spread across 5 square kilo­me­tres. Also visit the Frank­in­cense Mu­seum.

Na­ture’s Bounty

One of the main at­trac­tions that tourists look for dur­ing Kha­reef is the wa­ter­falls and it de­pends on the amount of rain. To name a few, Ayn Tabouk and Ayun Athum are lo­cated on the road to Nashib and the lat­ter is the most beau­ti­ful of all. It is eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble too.

His­tor­i­cal Sites

While na­ture’s bounty draws vis­i­tors to Salalah dur­ing Kha­reef the an­cient his­tor­i­cal sites that’s fre­quently vis­ited through­out the year is a huge at­trac­tion dur­ing Kha­reef. While the tomb of Prophet Ay­oub (Pbuh) is of­ten vis­ited an­other burial shrine is of Prophet Im­ran (Pbuh) in Salalah. The re­mains of Queen of Sheba’s Sum­mer Palace is a place to visit and this is where her pre­cious resin cargo was shipped to King Solomon. It is in Sumhu­ram pre­vi­ously known as Khor Rori and this small for­ti­fied town was an out­post for the king­dom. One of the lost an­cient frank­in­cense sites is Shisr, Ubar, of which Lawrence of Ara­bia called , “the At­lantis of the Sands’’ and there is a ref­er­ence in the Holy Qu­ran as Iraamd­hatilI­maad mean­ing “City of Tow­ers’’. It is 85km north-east of Thum­rait and re­dis­cov­ered in 1992 by sci­en­tific meth­ods. Taqah Cas­tle, de­spite be­ing rel­a­tively the most re­cent, is worth see­ing due to its past his­tory. The Cas­tle had been built in the 19th cen­tury. Take time to visit the Al Balid Ru­ins and mar­vel at the old res­i­den­tial ar­eas, stone-shaped arte­facts, and Al Balid fort. To get a sense of Salalah’s rich his­tory visit the Mir­bat Cas­tle.

The Kha­reef Fes­ti­val

It is held in Salalah each year with mu­sic and dance per­for­mances from dif­fer­ent re­gions of Oman as well as singers from out­side. In ad­di­tion, an ex­hi­bi­tion and sale of Omani hand­i­crafts, sports, and other events are held. Zanooj dance, which in­volves a cast of thou­sands is a spec­tac­u­lar sight.

How to Go

There are daily flights and buses be­tween Mus­cat and Salalah. You can also drive from Mus­cat to Salalah which takes roughly around 12 hours. —hi­week­end@time­so­fo­man.com

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