Khareef is a special season which is unique in the GCC region when the monsoon comes along and brings the usually-dry landscape into a lush green paradise.
Salalah, in the very south of the Sultanate of Oman, is a year round destination with cooler temperatures than the rest of the region, spectacular landscape framed by beaches and coconut trees, and several UNESCO World Heritage sites to explore. The highlight of the year is undoubtedly the Khareef, the season when most tourists visit the area, as they seek refuge from the extreme heat further north. Here are some of the top places to see in Salalah to help you make the most of your visit and enjoy the Khareef.
Located approximately 30 minutes away from Hawana Salalah, Jebel Ittin is a popular picnic destination for families. On the way, you will pass through the Khareef Festival, which is also incredibly popular. There are many traditional Omani restaurants nearby. If you wish to head deeper and explore the mountains, make sure you go in a 4×4 vehicle and bring mosquito repellent.
Ayn Gharziz is also around 30 minutes’ drive from Hawana Salalah. It’s famous for its waterfalls and a clear natural pool which is perfect for swimming. It is the ideal spot to spend the day with friends and family, have a picnic and enjoy the water. There are several restaurants along the main road but the pool area itself is quite isolated so make sure to bring some snacks and beverages, oh, and some mosquito repellent.
Mughsail Beach and Blowholes
About one hour away from Hawana Salalah by car, Mughsail has a beautiful white sandy beach which extends as far as the eye can see. No 4×4 is required for this trip and the views of the cliffs and beach are scenic and beautiful year-round. During Khareef, the blowholes are a spectacular sight as the water is pressed through underground holes to form a fountain on the surface, sometimes 20 metres or higher. The area does get busy, so be patient. Don’t forget your camera and if you wish to spend time on the beach, bring a picnic and some camping equipment. There are several huts available to use for a barbecue or to sit and relax while watching the waves breaking on the shore.
Wadi and Ayn Sahalnoot
The drive through the green mountains to get here is worth the 25-30 minute drive alone. Narrow and winding, the road takes you around the base of the mountain before opening up to a spring water basin. As expected, this is a very popular destination during Khareef as it is famous for hiking and is the perfect spot to enjoy a barbecue or picnic with family and friends.
Wadi Darbat and the Darbat Waterfalls
Wadi Darbat is a popular spot all year round and is always green. It’s also a hidden gem for animal lovers with camels, goats and donkeys all nearby, and for birdwatchers. The Wadi is about 30 minutes from Hawana Salalah by car and you don’t need a 4×4 to get there. During the Khareef season the mountains surrounding the wadi are lush and green, and popular activities include a picnic by the water or a small boat tour using one of the many boats available to rent nearby. Connected to the wadi are the Darbat Waterfalls, about 10 minutes away and best reached by 4×4. Once again, due to the climate it is advised to take mosquito repellent.