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What to do in Oman?

Sultanate of Oman - Oman's diverse terrain of mountains, deserts and seascapes, are an outdoor enthusiast's dream come true. From diving to photography to rock climbing to ice skating (!) Oman offers a variety of activities to suit the taste of any traveler. For further details contact...

Scuba Diving - Oman has a varied coastline over 1600 km long. There is a wealth of underwater flora,marine life and diving thrills awaiting the underwater explorer. Several companies specialising in diving services offer a complete range of diving courses, diving equipment and activities (night dives, wreck dives, etc.). For details click here.

Photography and Filming - For serious and casual photographers there are photo opportunities galore -- stark majestic mountain ranges, serene sandy beaches, lush green jungles -- all within a wink of a shutter. Wildlife, rustic villages, majestic forts, colourful natives ... there is inspiration everywhere. Best months for photography are November –April in the early morning or late afternoon. Use of a UV and polarizing filter is recommended.

Note: While photography is permited throughout the Sultanate, and there is beautiful scenery everywhere, photography of government and military installations is not permited. Likewise photographers should be very circumspect when it comes to photographing women. It is not advisable to take pictures of women without requesting and obtaining permission before hand. This can be done by saying "Mumkin sura, min fadlak?" (May i take your picture please?).

Rock Climbing - Rugged mountains, rising to 3,000 meters, amongst a maze of spurs and wadis, deep canyons and towering cliffs. Getting onto the mountain in a four-wheel drive is easy. For the rock climber, every mountain face presents an enigmatic challenge. For specific information there is a book available from Apex Publishing (Tel. 799388) entitled "Rock Climbing in Oman" is available at most book stores and shopping centres.

Trekking - Oman is an amazing place for exploration and discovery, especially by foot in its spectacular mountain scenery. The country is the best kept tourism secret of the Gulf region, if not the entire Middle East, having striking scenery, friendly people and year-round sunshine. "Adventure Trekking in Oman" by Anne Dale & Jerry Hadwind introduces the uninitiated and curious to the myriad pathways and fabulous staircases criss-crossing the country's fascinating mountains. There, the climate is almost perfect for walking and provides relief from the hot plains and coastal area.

Camel Racing - Camel racing is an exciting sport where camels and their owners congregate at racetracks around the country. Racing camels are bred for the track and are highly prized posessions. A good racing camel can fetch a price of RO 30,000 (US $ 77,400). Jockeys are drafted for their size (or lack thereof) and some make their professional debuts around five years old. Crowd enthusiasm is high on these occasions. However, raceday is not announced long in advance, so it is best to know someone who has an inside track as to when a race is scheduled.

Bull Fighting - Bull fighting is very popular in Oman but it is a far cry from the Spanish variety. In this instance two Brahmin bulls of the same size are pitted against each other. The first one to get knocked down or run away is declared the loser.The fight lasts only for a few minutes and the bulls suffer no injury except perhaps a wounded pride and a bad headache. Bull fighting usually takes place on Friday afternoons in the cooler winter months at arenas along the Batinah coast, notably in Seeb, Barka, Sawadi, and Sohar.

Game Fishing - Game fishing is now becoming very popular in Oman as would be anglers try their hand at bagging the big one. Species such as marlin and tuna are highly sought. The sport is affordable and Omani waters are abundant in the bait fish that attracts larger predators. The coasts off Sur and Masirah are especially suited for this unique sport.

Turtle Watching - The beaches of Ras Al Had ,Ras Al Junayz and Masirah island are just some of the areas where several species of marine turtles come to lay their eggs. Green turtles, loggerheads, Hawksbill and leatherbacks live for over 100 years and swim the length and breadth of the Indian Ocean only to return every year to the same sites to lay their eggs. Many tour operators and hotels in Sur offer turtle visitation packages. It is necessary to acquire a permit to visit the official nesting sites as the turtles are protected as endangered species. Once again, local tour operators will provide full details.

Sailing and Boating - What's your pleasure? A sporty sloop or graceful catamaran. A convivial yacht or speedy see-doo. How about a carefree course on a stately dhow. Game fishing. Dolphin and Whale watching. Boogie boards and banana boats. And diving, diving, diving. All of the above is available if you know where to look and the best ones are right here.

Horseback Riding - When you come to Arabia, you can't miss the allure of the Arabian riding stallion. And if you like riding, Oman has trails and the horses to take you there. You'll find the Royal Stables in Seeb a good spot to observe equestrian events staged for public and private gatherings. And if you go to the Al Kamil/Al Wafi region of the country, you can find the best breeders and trainers the country has to offer.

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