SALALAH, OMAN DESTINATION GUIDE
Salalah is the second largest city of Oman and the capital of the vibrant Dhofar province. This sub-tropical region of the country has become a recent tourist phenomenon that delivers on its promise of a unique Arabian experience.
Modern Salalah is a sprawling expanse of whitewashed, low-rise buildings. History and culture play a pivotal role in the city’s nature and incredible archaeology. The natural diversity draws visitors to this ancient paradise from around the world. Its vibrant and luscious greenery are a distinctive characteristic of the city in addition to its many waterfalls, lakes, mountains, caves and diverse wildlife that extend beyond the city walls.
Fine sandy beaches stretch for miles around the coast of Salalah; shaded by leaning coconut palms and surrounded by vibrant greenery. The unique climatic factors of Salalah make it a true jewel of the Arabian Sea. The cooler summer in this region is a breath of fresh air for the Arabian Peninsula and makes exploring the cities many historical and cultural attractions even more of a pleasure. This combined with its deep-rooted natural beauty ensure that Salalah is an international destination that is not to be overlooked.
THINGS TO SEE
Wadi Darbat is located in Dhofar Governorate. This wadi carves its way through hills and highlands until it reaches Khawr Ruri, where it empties into the Arabian Gulf.
During autumn, the wadi’s water descending from the mountains forms magnificent waterfalls cascading from a height of up to 30 meters (100 feet).
The wadi is distinguished by its virgin nature and thick botanical cover, in addition to a natural spring and a number of caves. The wadi’s water is the source of the water filling Teeq Cave’s cells .
TEEQ CAVE &TAWI ATEER SINKHOLE
Tawi Ateer Sinkhole, known as the ‘Bird Well’ gained international fame after its discovery in 1997 by a team of Slovenian explorers in collaboration with Sultan Qaboos University as one of the largest solvent sinkholes in the world. This adds to the Sultanate's rich biodiversity, its geographical and historical richness, and its historical and archaeological sites, as well as its remains of early civilization, all of which endorse the Governorate of Dhofar as a tourist destination, and boost the various opportunities for those interested in discovery, along with nature and adventure lovers.
The capacity of the Teeq Sinkhole is about 975 thousand cubic metres. Its diameter is between 130 to 150 metres and its depth is 211 metres. Water flowing down the valleys has resulted in the formation of the sinkhole, with its magnificent waterfalls along the intersection with Teeq Sinkhole.
Teeq Cave is near the top of the sinkhole. Its capacity is about 170 thousand cubic metres, and has no less than six entrances, the largest of which is the Western entrance and wall which can be seen from the top of Teeq sinkhole. You can reach that entrance along narrow paths located off the main trail. From those paths you can enjoy panoramic views of the sinkhole and its waterfalls.
THE FRANKINCENSE TREE
This tree has gained worldwide fame and frankincense is mentioned in ancient history books. Dhofar has known frankincense since time immemorial. In addition to its aromatic fragrance and use as incense to aromatise houses, frankincense is also used as a therapeutic ingredient.
Humanity has known the frankincense tree since ancient times, and a special relationship has grown between the two. Frankincense is a symbol of life, or rather it is life itself, for the Dhofari people. It is not a mere tree, but an embodiment of culture, history, sociology and geography.
Over the centuries, cities and civilisations have been based on frankincense trade, as the ruins of Samahran and Khawr Rawri cities, bustling with life one thousand years BC, tell us. In these ancient cities, writings in the southern Arabic alphabet, today called Al Jabaliya, relate the story of establishing these cities for the purpose of exporting Frankincense to different parts of the Arabian Peninsula.
The Omani researcher and historian, Abdul Qadir bin Salim Al Ghassani, mentions in his book ‘Dhofar, the Land of Frankincense’ that Alexander the Great had imported huge quantities of incense from Arab lands.
Other sources suggest that frankincense was used round the throne of King Solomon as incense. These sources also mention that when Emperor Nero’s wife died, the Emperor burned the equivalent of the whole southern Arabian Peninsula’s yield of frankincense. In the preset time, we know that this incense is used at the Vatican in Rome.