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The east coast of the Musandam Peninsula offers some of the best and most diverse diving in Oman.
|lars, © Author: Lars Hemel
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The Musandam Peninsula is a sparsely populated and mountainous area officially belonging to Oman, but geographically located just north of Dubai and Fujairah. The Strait of Hormuz in between Musandam and Iran is only 56 kilometers wide and known for its extreme fishing grounds, coral reefs and huge amounts of pearl oysters.
Musandam has a rugged fjord-like coastline which offers ample opportunities for different kind of tours. The Hajar Mountain Range ends with Ru'us al Jabal (Heads of the Mountains) before it drops down into the ocean, offering many spectacular hiking tours. Bird watching is popular as the peninsula offers bird species coming from three different continents. You can visit caves where ancient wall paintings and rock carvings unveil some of the life of its early inhabitants. The village Kumzar is a very nice Omani fishing village where cooking still happens in clay ovens. It is possible to book dolphin and whale watching tours and there are day and multiple day trips to several remote offshore islands. Khasab to the northwest of the Peninsula is a town steadily becoming more and more touristic, as is Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven emirates well worth a visit. Other sight you can visit here are Khasab Castle, old settlements and prehistoric tombs.
With warm green waters from the Arabian Gulf to the west and waters from the Gulf of Oman to the east, it is an area extremely diverse with marine life. Most diving and snorkeling is done off the east coast by United Arab Emirates dive operators and Oman dhows or speedboats coming from Dibba or Khasab. Bureaucratic paperwork and visa's used to make diving here difficult but all this is something of the past. Today you show up and are allowed to dive the Musandam peninsula without having an Omani visa. The dive sites are spectacular with many deep drop-offs that create water flows rich in plankton attracting large predators and small aquatic life. Some larger species you might find are hammerhead sharks, mink whales, dolphins, manta rays, zebra sharks, whale sharks and turtles. Many colorful hard corals, soft corals and anemones are found along its shores which are a haven for smaller tropical fish. Visibilities normally range between five and twenty meters and water temperatures normally are between 20 and 30 degrees, but cold oceanic thermo clines make these hard to predict.
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