SalalahSalalah is the main town of the Dhofar region,located in the far southwest of Oman and nearthe border with Yemen. One of Oman's mostancient settlements, Salalah has a very differentclimate to the rest of the country, and in thesummer months the city experiences the khareefseason, influenced by the monsoon winds andrain from the Indian Ocean. During this period,the countryside turns green and lush and visitorsfrom elsewhere in the Arabian peninsula flockhere to experience the refreshing rainfall. Atother times Salalah is a rather sleepy butattractive place to spend a few days, where youcan enjoy the tropical atmosphere amongst thebanana groves and palm trees. To the east andwest of the town are some places of interest,including the tomb of the Prophet Job, hills filledwith frankincense-bearing trees and the ancientport of Samhuram, at one time associated withthe Queen of Sheba.96Coastline near SalalahSalalah Marriott Beach ResortLagoon near SalalahPlaying football on the beach, SalalahSALALAHMARRIOTTBEACHRESORTThe Salalah Marriott is actually locatedapproximately one hour's drive from the city,near to a small town called Mirbat. It is a peaceful,relaxing retreat and an excellent choice for endingyour trip around Oman. Most of the rooms lookover the pool (the largest in Oman) and beach,with views of the Indian Ocean. There are anumber of restaurants serving a range of cuisines,including a seafood restaurant which makes themost of the daily catch. Although a little isolated,the Marriott offers comfortable accommodationand is within easy reach of Salalah and thesurrounding points of interest. The coastline tothe east of the hotel is very remote withfascinating geology, flora and fauna, making it well worth exploring.
The Musandam PeninsulaMusandam is one of the least visited but mostbeautiful areas of Oman. It is a parcel of Omaniterritory, entirely cut off from the rest of thecountry by the surrounding United Arab Emirates,a legacy of the tribal lines which dictated theshape of modern Arab nations. You can drivefrom the main part of Oman to reach Musandam,or to save time, fly northwards from Muscat.Jutting into the Straits of Hormuz like a crookedfinger, its coastline is deeply scored with jaggedcreeks that are often compared to Norwegianfjords. Dhow cruises around the coast are a goodway to see Musandam from a differentperspective, with opportunities to enjoy thescenery and snorkel in the brilliantly clear water.Inland, roads cut through the folded mountainsand there are small villages and towns with whitehouses and small forts.SIXSENSESZIGHYBAY,MUSANDAMPENINSULASix Senses Zighy Bay complements the remoteand beautiful location with its use of traditionalmaterials and design. There are 79 pool villas and pool villa suites, each with their own smallswimming pool. The resort has all the facilitiesneeded for a stay in such a remote place,including a marina, gym, spa and a range of diningoptions, including private dining in the hills. Backedby mountains, the hotel sits on a secluded beach.You can choose to arrive along the dramatic roadfrom the mountains, across the sea by speedboat,or even to fly down by paraglider.www.audleytravel.com/oman ?01993 838 430 ?Oman97The Frankincense TradeThe Dhofar region, with its principal town of Salalah, has been one of the world'spremier sources of frankincense since ancienttimes. The Ancient Egyptians, Greeks andPersians were amongst the civilisations whopurchased Omani frankincense. The tradethrived thanks to its use in rituals associatedwith different religions and was one of thegifts offered by the three magi (wise men) in the Bible's nativity story. Dhofar prosperedduring these times. The ruins of Samhuram,an ancient port near Salalah are testament to its importance on early trade routes.Frankincense was transported from here allover the world.Frankincense is tapped from the Boswelliatree which grows in the hills near Salalah.Small incisions are made in the bark duringMarch and April and the tree is then left foraround five days whilst the milky sap seepsout. The lumps of resin are then collected by local people, whose families have beeninvolved in the industry for centuries. Todayfrankincense is still shipped around the worldfor use in religious ceremonies and as animportant ingredient in the manufacture ofperfumes. You can buy frankincense in mostsouqs in Oman, but the souq in Salalah offers the largest range.Mosque and boat at Zighy Bay, Musandam PeninsulaSix Senses Zinghy Bay, Musandam PeninsulaFrankincenseBurning frankincense at Job's TombHarvesting frankincenseFjord on the Musandam Peninsula