Places to Visit in Salalah During Khareef (First-Timer’s Guide – 2017 Updated)
Once upon a time in a city named Salalah, the Khareef used to appear making its presence aware from mid June to September. It still does make an appearance, bringing along with it heavy clouds from the Indian Ocean that transforms the barren desert into a carpet of lush greenery.
Let me put things straight !
Salalah is a city-the capital of Oman’s Dhofar region, to be precise. But khareef is not the name of some powerful wizard. It is actually the Arabic term for autumn,but refers to the Salalah monsoon season in case of Salalah.
So what’s special about the khareef season that makes travel enthusiasts flock to Salalah? Waterfalls and green mountains can be seen in many places, but the thing with Salalah is, places that were once dry desert turn into tumbling waterfalls flanked by greenery worthy of lush rain forests. It’s the feeling of admiring the change that attracts travelers. That and it’s picturesque coconut-lined beaches which are easy to visit year-round, the tropical fruits like papaya and banana that bring a hint of the tropics, the pleasant climate and the history.
Salalah is many possibilities in one destination, drive through lush roads on your way to Wadi Sahalnoot, kayak at Wadi Darbat, glance at waterfalls that appear only for quarter of a year, drive on neutral at the anti gravity point, wander through UNESCO world-heritage sites and watch the sun set from the cliff at Taqa beach, all in a day. Either way, you will be embracing a different personality of Salalah every time.
So now you just want the list of Places to Visit in Salalah During Khareef
Alright lets dive into the list !
Salalah is amazing throughout the year. It has a host of daily attractions, but come khareef and the list of lovely places increase. History, nature, entertainment, Salalah has got it all and more.
Nature Lover ?
1. Wander the waterfalls (only during khareef)
These gorgeous falls only grace our presence throughout the season and are one of the best places to visit in Salalah during khareef.
- Ayn Tubrook: Situated on the road to Nashib, the waterfall can be accessedeasily and is a breathtaking sight to behold
- Ayn Athum Salalah: Situated on the eastern side of Salalah, this tall waterfall is regarded as one of the most beautiful. It is also popular because of its easy access
- Ayn Khor Salalah: Located in the vicinity of Raysut Cement factory on the west side of the city, The waterfall can only be reached by foot or 4WD
- Wadi Ayn Waterfall: Park at Wadi Ayn parking area and walk to one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in Salalah. Imagine mist-topped hills thriving with greenery separated by trails of white water gracefully accumulating at pools in the base.
2. Boating in Wadi Darbat Salalah
Situated in the vicinity of Dhofar region’s beach town, Taqah, wadi darbat is a year-round attraction but becomes even more appealing during the season. The pastures surrounding the lake is occasionally dotted by grazing cows and camels. Being the biggest lake in Salalah, there are many boats available during the khareef season. The power boat has a capacity of 2 people and is run by motor. The paddle boats can also accommodate 2 and is a good way to work those leg muscles. There is even a small area sectioned off by PVC pipe for children to ride the kiddy boats.The open air and breathtaking scenery is an ideal spot for a BBQ.
Beach lover ?
1. Sunset from the Cliff top
Picture- powdery white shores, azure blue waters and a generous dotting of green coconut trees brings the Taqah beach to the ranks of any other famous tropical beach. The beach also has a cliff for more photogenic experiences. The drive to the cliff top should be by a 4WD as the terrain is rough. The beach is visited by many birds so perfect your birdwatching skills. There are tiny creeks that come off the beach creating a slithering path through the sand. Their banks are carpeted with grass creating a picturesque scene for the eyes. This is a good spot for families as well because there are huts for BBQ-ing and a kids play area. Try and be there in the evening. Enjoy the beach a little and take the rough drive up the cliff. Whip out a mat or foldable chair and relish the beauty of an unspoiled sunset.
2. Sealine studded with dhows
The coastal town of Mirbat welcomes you with two graceful horse statues that hint at its importance as a breeding place for Arabian horses. Apart from that, it is also a fishing village which is proven by the multitude of dhows dotting the sea. A brief stop at the Mirbat harbor will let you observe these traditional watercrafts up close. The beaches, with cotton-soft sand will be what wins you over. You can also come across animals like goats, horses, etc and birds. Sunsets and sunrises are also a picturesque occurrence. So leave your footprints on the Mirbat beach and bring along the splendid memories.
3. Go with the flow at the blowholes
The Mughsayl blowholes are situated near the Mughsail beach. You can enjoy yourself being sprayed by the constant bursts of water or lean forward at the railing that has been erected to safeguard visitors from heading to deep waters and enjoy the view of the sea and the waves crashing against the moss-covered rocks. You can also stop at Marneef Caves which is just a stone’s throw away.
Fun & Fascination Lover ?
1. Race with anti gravity
Have you ever thought driving in neutral gear was a possible feat. For all those driving fanatics, this stretch of gravity road (or gravity hill as wikipedia labels it)is actually a downhill slope that creates an optical illusion of climbing a steep hill. So loosen your foot from the accelerator and enjoy the scenery as your car maintains a steady speed of 40 to 60 kmph throughout the road.
2. Have a date with the Dinos
If you are wondering why Salalah was chosen to house Middle east’s biggest dinosaur theme park, we have got your answer. The place has pleasant outdoor climate throughout the year making it possible to enjoy al fresco activities whenever you want. This is an ideal spot for kids and adults. Some dinosaurs show no movement, some show a little and some make roaring sounds. Either way, they look realistic and visiting the place at night could be a nice adventure for families. Once you are done pretending you were in Jurassic park, head over to Atinaland for some food and shopping.
Archaeology Lover ?
1. Explore archaeology in golf carts
Park your car at the allocated spots, hire a golf cart and explore the site’s attractions. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site as it is a good showcase of what an ancient city would have looked like. Stop at the Al Baleed mosque, the roof of which is supported by 144 columns and dates back to 4th century AH. The park has many signboards in both English and Arabic. The museum of frankincense land has displays of artifacts excavated from other UNESCO sites like AshShisr, etc. There are also displays of the governorates archaeological and historical heritage along with life size models of Omani boats dating back to 3000 BC.
2. Read ancient inscriptions
The Sumhuram archaeological park at khor Rouri is a museum and an excavation site. You can take a stroll and observe the ruins or see the archaeologists working away. In the on-site gallery you can see the excavated objects that date from 1st century BC all the way upto the 3rd century AD along with some kursi inscriptions.
1. Go back in time
See the ancient buildings that used to be in Mirbat. You will come across houses made of clay, bricks and mud. Some will be in good condition while others are partly demolished. Drive through these ancient roads and picture what it would have looked like a few hundred years back.
2. Visit the mother of Sultan Qaboos
This cozy castle might not be as ancient as many other forts or castles (because it was built in the 19th century), but it has numerous exhibits and displays that showcase different aspects and tools of traditional Omani life. The castle has its own prison, reception hall, guard’s room,watch towers and is the burial ground of Sultan Qaboos’ mother.
Shop Lover ?
1. Load up on Frankincense
Cruise Through the winding alleys and buy some local handicrafts or souvenirs to take back home. Definitely stock up on Frankincense to fill your home with the wonderful scent of Salalah.
2. Scour the contemporary fashion scene
Sit on the steps of Salalah Garden Mall and watch the fountain trickling to relax your sore feet after a frenzy of shopping. Similarly, check out the many boutiques of Salalah Gallery Mall and Hala Bazaar for a complete shopping experience.
The days and night spent anticipating the places to visit in Salalah during Khareef will not be a waste. Salalah will stand up to your expectations or exceed it.Just don’t forget to pack loads of sunscreen, some cozy clothes and a camera to document your trip. Take back some frankincense to relive the nostalgic call of Salalah once you’re back home.
Also you might be interested knowing where to stay
To admire all that Salalah has to offer, you will have to be staying in one of the Salalah oman hotels. The city has anything from 3 star hotels to 5 star resorts and even apartments.
One of the best places to stay while in Salalah, this 153-room hotel is bordered by rich gardens and the Indian Ocean on one side. Tourists can take advantage of their private beach, swim on any of its spectacular outdoor pools or spend the night at their nightclub.
2. Al Baleed Resort Salalah By Anantara
The first luxury villa to open up in Salalah, Al Baleed provides its guests with a private pool in every villa. This opens up to the private beach where you can catch the gentle sea breeze. If you feel all tied up after hours of exploring Salalah, head to their spa to relax. This beach resort Salalah oman has everything for a relaxing getaway and is close to some famous attractions.
The 5 star stunner that has 400 rooms not only has a beachfront, but it also has an artificial canal winding its way through. This ideal holiday resort also serves up some delicious food.
4. Hilton Salalah Resort
The 147 rooms of this 5 star hotel boasts views of the sea and the Salalah port. If you are a fitness enthusiast then you will definitely benefit from their gym and outdoor pool.
5. Intercity Hotel Salalah
If you are travelling for business and leisure reasons, this is the spot for you. Its proximity to the business district doesn’t compromise on the interior decor or the facilities of a roof-top pool, steam room and gym.
6. Al Fanar Hotel & Residence
A 4 star hotel that has some good facilities for any of its guests staying in the 218 rooms. Apart from having cozy rooms, the hotel also offers complimentary airport shuttles, refined dining, a spa and pool.
7. The Villas for rent in Salalah
May be you are really on a budget and still wanted to make it to Salalah and having more then 4-6 adults, you may think of contacting our Oman desetination expert to get you a villa that has lower cost as well as space for your entire group .
Wanted to know more ? Wanted to know more
why people visit Salalah
For those of you who are asking themselves the question ‘why should I visit Salalah?’ The city still hasn’t attained the ranks of famous beach destinations like Hawaii or Bali, but it is getting there with its own treasures to offer all those willing to explore it. If you are a travel enthusiast it goes without saying that experiencing the culture, history, landscape and cuisine broadens our horizons. So now let me list the few reasons why you should visit Salalah during khareef.
Come across nature’s miracles
From desert to forest, the transformation is one of nature’s many miracles and Salalah has many of them. The Khareef season swaps the mountains boring brown to a thriving green and awaken the flowers of frankincense trees. That’s not all, you will be awed by the beauty of the seasonal waterfalls.
Dig out your haggling hat
With the khareef festival and a thriving traditional shopping scene, you will be able to get your hands on some wonderful local handicrafts and souvenirs to take back home.
Experience the vibrant local culture
You can get to know more about the country’s culture and heritage from the exhibitions in the khareef festival. Admire the different dances to get an idea of the country’s performing art scene.
Unwind in the perfect Arabian Getaway
You will automatically feel your stress levels reducing as you inhale the heady fragrance of fresh flowers or hear the splatter of water at the base of a waterfall. Recharge yourself with the cool climate keeping you company throughout your evening as you laze around the pool of your hotel. Salalah will definitely wipe every ounce of stress from your system
Flights to Salalah
Happy khareef in Salalah! We are working on a comprehensive Salalah travel guide, soon to be available here