Growing up in California’s Bay Area and travelling to Hawaii on a regular basis, I’ve seen my fair share of beautiful sea views. But the only time I’ve seen endless coastline was from the bow of a cruise ship to Mexico.
… until we drove from Muscat to Sur in Oman.
A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law visited our new home to take in her first impressions of the country that we now call “home.” After dragging her to a few of our favorite sites in Muscat (read: beach and dinner!), we packed up the car and drove South to the beach community of Sur.
Thanks to our handy dandy Lonely Planet book, we were able to plan out a few stops on our 2-hour drive, beginning with the Bimmah sinkhole. Created by the withering layers of limestone, locals believe that this amazing turquoise sinkhole was created by an asteroid or meteorite. Rumors say that scientists haven’t determined the depths of this amazing sinkhole full of fresh water, small fish, and the occasional swimming German tourist.
Another stop-over on our drive to Sur was at the infamous Wadi Shab or “Gorge Between Two Cliffs.” This wadi is one of the most picturesque (and visited) wadis in Oman. But since our journey only led us to the entrance (we didn’t have the right clothes for a day hike up to the waterfalls… more information will be forthcoming). Until we explore this amazing wadi in more depth, we’ll just have to enjoy our memories of the arching palm trees against the tan terrain and an angelic white Great Egret flying over the reflective pool.
When we arrived in Sur, we were pleasantly surprised by this gorgeous sleepy town. This small community was once a popular port for mariners. Even Marco Polo came through this region porting in the neighboring town of Qalhat. But Sur is most widely known for it’s shipbuilding trade. Because of it’s access to both the Indian Ocean and and the Gulf of Oman, wooden dhows from Sur have been used as part of the maritime fleets for Kenya, Tanzania, India, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and China. We even found ourselves in the middle of a dhow making factory before finding the open-air dhow museum we were looking for.
I look forward to the next time we can explore more of this beautiful country. From doors to dhows, beach to cliffs–this country has so much to offer.