Set in Dhofar’s largest nature reserve, the ruins of Samharam are part of the Land of Frankincense UNCESCO World Heritage Site. The port played an important part in trade over 2000 years ago. Overlooking Khawr Ruri, the history of the settlement and port is showcased at the on-site museum. Queen Sheba is alleged to have had a palace at Samharam.
Wadi Dawkah is the natural habitat for the Boswellia sacra – or Frankincense tree – which can be seen populating an area of some five square kilometres. As part of the Land of Frankincense UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are specially designated viewing areas for visitors.
This fabled lost city, also known as the Atlantis of the Sands, is tucked away in the Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter) and rumoured to have been found near the oasis of Shisr. Ubar once played a vital role as frankincense trade hub and was mentioned in “A Thousand and One Nights” -a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories and folk tales.
A special permission is required to visit the Jebel Samham Nature Reserve, which is home to some of the last wild Arabian Leopards and other rare species such as the Arabian Wolf and Striped Hyena. The road leading to the reserve, however, is rewarding on its own right, passing large baobab trees and traditional Jeballi settlements to Jebel Samham’s breath-taking escarpment.
En route to the top of Jebel Samhan, Tawi Ateer is one of the world’s largest sinkholes. It is filled with shrubs and plants, turning it into a haven for birds which earned it the nickname “Bird Well”. From the entrance of the nearby Teeq Cave visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the sinkhole and its waterfalls from the cave’s entrance.
West of Taqah, a quaint fishing village, this lagoon (khawr) combines freshwater plants with other varieties that require higher levels of salinity to thrive. The result is an abundance of marine life here, as well as many different types of birds.
Khawr Ruri Dhofar’s largest nature reserve – is home to a huge varietyfish, birds and plants. This nature reserve contains UNESCO World Heritage site – Samharam port. For bird watching enthusiasts, there is the opportunity to see a large number of migratory and local birds, including Pink Flamingos.
Darbat Lake at the heart of Wadi Darbat is a favourite picnic spot, with visitors taking short boat rides or barbecuing nears its shores. A 30-metre waterfall feeds the lake during monsoon season (Khareef).
Nestled in a deep forest of trees, Jarzeez Spring is especially popular during Khareef – monsoon season – when the surrounding Iteen Plain turns into one of the greenest areas of Dhofar.
Mughsayl Beach is a favourite picnic spot with locals and visitors alike. Towards one end of the beach, near Marneef Cave, visitors can witness the Mughsayl Blowholes gushing water high into the air during monsoon season.