Famed for the riches of its frankincense groves, coconut-fringed beaches and spectacular ancient landscapes, Salalah, on the southern coast of Dhofar offers the perfect summer escape for those looking to retreat from the heat of the UAE. Thanks to their celebrated Khareef season, a colloquial Arabic term used to describe a unique weather pattern in Oman, occurring every year between June and September, the coastal fringe of Dhofar experiences a run-in with the Indian Ocean monsoon season, causing rain to blanket the region, transforming the coastal plains and mountains into an emerald green, tropical paradise.
As you can imagine, this special season causes an influx of visitors from the GCC, all attempting to take refuge from the heat under the Salalah rain clouds. After two months too spent battling the Dubai heat, it was time for a staycation with our ‘cool’ neighbour across the border.
Why To Go?
Throughout these months, the clouds disperse and turn the mountains of Salalah into something reminiscent of the Scottish. The region comes alive with wildlife, including gazelle, hyena, flamingo and the unique and scarce Arabian leopard, whilst the regions pride possession, the camel, can be spotted in the mountains, making the most of the new found food and cool climate. Salalah is also 15 degrees cooler than the UAE at any given time, making it the ideal spot to beat the heat and the scorching sunlight. That combined with the close proximity to the rest of the GCC (under two hours from Dubai with our friends at FlyDubai), makes this the perfect summer escape and a must for you all to try when the heat gets too much!
What To Do?
During the Khareef season, activities including wadi bashing, hiking and 4x4 expeditions to discover ancient villages can be experienced at ease. A highlight and an essential right of passage for all those visiting during this time is to pay a visit to Wadi Darbat, an enchanting area where you can either picnic beside or kayak across a beautiful lake surrounded by waterfalls and mountains – you will be shocked by the lush green that surrounds this area, trust us!
Nearby, the winding roads take you to Taqah, a striking coastal town with historic forts situated next to a natural park that is completely covered with lush green vegetation. Taqah Castle, the areas most famous landmark, is full of history, whilst the nearby beaches are perfect for watching the huge waves roll in.
Culture vultures can marvel at the nature and history of the Botanical Garden and Museum of Frankincense, as well as visit Al Baleed Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, whilst those looking for a bit more excited can visit MUGUAEL. Home to Salalah’s famous blowholes, it’s the perfect spot to watch the stormy waves underneath the mountains – it’s a picture perfect spot for the instagrammers among you. One last tip, don’t leave without getting your hands on a Fateera, a pancake filled with cream cheese and honey, or Salalah’s signature Spiced Mango, the perfect treat for the ride home.
Click here to check out our Salalah hotel partner - Anantara Al Baleed