Top Tourist Attractions in Salalah and Dhofar You Shouldn’t Miss!

Top Tourist Attractions in Salalah and Dhofar You Shouldn’t Miss!

What to see and do in Salalah and Dhofar? A Detailed Guide.

Wondering where to go in Salalah and Dhofar? Remember that the real adventure extends beyond city limits. While Salalah is the gateway, the real treasures lie in the surrounding landscapes.

There are hidden beaches and awesome waterfalls hiding in the mountains. It’s like a treasure hunt waiting for you. We’ll show you where to go in Salalah, the best places to visit, and the coolest spots you don’t want to miss. Let’s start exploring!

Al Fazayah Beaches west of Salalah

Traveling 70 kilometers west of Salalah, you will stumble upon a chain of exquisite beaches in Fazayah. These beaches are under a hillside. You will come across them while traveling down the winding road to the coast. Al Fazayah beaches are of two types.

Wide open beaches: These are spacious beaches with a lot of white sand, stretching out as far as you can see. You can relax there and play beach games.

Small hidden beaches: These are tiny beaches only uncovered when the tide goes out. They are surrounded by rocks or cliffs, making them cozy and private. 

Al Mughsayl Beach & Blowholes

If you’re near Salalah, check out Al Mughsayl Beach—it’s pretty popular. You’ll see cute picnic spots along the shore, but it’s not as cool as Fazayah. Heading west, you’ll spot Marneef Cave. It’s not exactly a cave, more like a big rock hanging out. 

Here’s the fun part—there are three blowholes there. During khareef, they shoot water up to 30 meters high. They may sound spooky, like a dragon hiding underneath, but they’re not as impressive when the monsoon’s gone—just chill.

Salalah City Beach

It is a captivating beach of pure white sand spread along the coast for miles. It has tall palm trees and low-rise buildings. Here, you may feel like you have been transferred to Zanzibar. 

The beach is your go-to choice if you are looking for a perfect spot for a day picnic. It especially comes alive in the evening as the locals throng it for fishing.

The beach paints an exotic picture in the evening when the sun slowly goes down into the depths of the water. Ideal for Salalah shore excursions, this beach offers a taste of paradise.

Shaat Hidden Beach, Viewpoint & Sinkhole

If you’re up for an adventure, head to Shaat Hidden Beach! It’s a cozy little spot with pebbles and sand, surrounded by big black rocks and a small lagoon. 

You’ll find it hiding just below Fazayah’s beaches. The map may trick you into thinking it’s only a short distance away. However, it takes about 45 minutes to an hour to drive down from the Shaat clifftop viewpoint to the beach in a 4×4.

No worries if you’re tight on time or don’t have a 4×4 – you can still check out the Shaat viewpoint and sinkhole. They’re super easy to get to from the main road, and you can drive there in any car. You won’t need to hike much from the parking spot to enjoy the awesome views.

Remember to bring your passport and car registration. Just before you reach the turn-off for Shaat, there’s a military checkpoint on the main road. Make sure you have these documents to avoid any inconvenience.

Mountain Roads & Coastal Villages

You can drive past Shaat to Dhalkut if you have plenty of time. Dhalkut is a small town about 130 km from Salalah near the Yemen border. Along the route, you’ll pass through coastal villages like Rakhyut. You can challenge yourself on twisty mountain roads and soak in breathtaking scenery. 

Just a heads up, bring your passport and car registration documents because several military checkpoints are on the way.

Ayn Khor Falls

You’re lucky if you’re in Salalah during the khareef season or shortly after. You’ll likely catch the Ayn Khor falls in full flow. There is a stunning turquoise pool at the base, with lush greenery cascading down the rock walls on either side of the falls. It’s a sight you don’t want to miss!

What to explore east of Salalah?

Let’s dive into the wonders waiting to be discovered east of Salalah.

Wadi Darbat & The Travertine Curtain

Wadi Darbat is a must-see part of Salalah trips. It stays green all year round. At the wadi’s top end is a river bordered by trees. There, you will find camels chilling by the banks. You can’t miss the massive 1000-year-old tree towering over everything else.

You’ll see several small waterfalls and pools as you go downstream—a perfect spot for a leisurely picnic or a peaceful stroll. When conditions are just right, these little falls combine to form one big waterfall that pours over a special rock wall.

What’s that wall? 

It’s like a super tall (150 meters!) rock cliff, but the water has worn holes. It is like a melted chocolate ice cream cone with chunks missing.

For a bird’ s-eye view of the falls, follow the river a short way from the road. Exercise caution because there aren’t any barriers, and it’s a steep drop. To play safe, head to the Darbat Cafe, where you can enjoy the view from a terrace overlooking the pools.

But to truly appreciate the travertine curtain, you should admire it from below. From there, you’ll get an enchanting view of the waterfall and the pools below. 

There’s a short trail from the car park that leads to the waterfall. Follow it and scramble up a few rocky bits until you have a clear view of it in all its glory.

Remember that the amount of water can vary greatly from season to season or year to year. Sometimes, the area at the bottom of the curtain might be totally flooded, while other times, it could be almost dry. 

Apart from that, it’s best not to swim anywhere in the wadi because there have been reports of bilharzia, a nasty parasite you must avoid.

Tawi Atair Sinkhole

A small distance from Wadi Darbat sits one of the world’s largest sinkholes, 150 meters wide and 211 meters deep. It’s a hotspot for tourists, but most will simply stroll down to the viewing platform, take a quick peek, and head back to their Landcruisers. 

You shouldn’t do that. The view from the top is somewhat underwhelming, and you may be disappointed.

For a truly magical experience, go down the rugged path to the right of the viewing platform and keep on trekking. You’ll descend deeper and deeper into the heart of the sinkhole until you reach a weathered old platform 130 meters down. 

From here, you can get a full view of the sinkhole and understand why locals call it ‘The Well of the Birds.’ Listening to the chorus of birdsong is an unforgettable experience. The round-trip hike will take at least an hour, but it’s worth every step!

Tayq Sinkhole

A short distance from Tawi Atair Sinkhole, Tayq Sinkhole offers great views from its rim without much effort. But if you’re feeling adventurous, you can take a longer walk down, where you’ll find a cave.

From the parking area, head to the right and follow the trail along the southern rim. The trail begins as a narrow rocky path, goes through a metal gate, and then leads you onto an open hillside. It continues down to the bottom, with some steep parts. 

It’ll take around 3 hours to return, so bring some water, wear sturdy shoes, and dress appropriately.

Khor Rori & Ancient Sumhuram

The water flowing from Wadi Darbat eventually falls into the sea through the charming lagoon of Khor Rori. It’s a popular hangout for flamingos during autumn and spring, and camels seem to love it all year round. A stretch of beach separates the lagoon from the ocean, with small cliffs rising on either side. 

Nearby, you’ll stumble upon the archaeological site of Sumhuram, an ancient city dating back to the 3rd century BC. Legend has it that it was once home to the legendary Queen of Sheba. This area is also part of the UNESCO-recognized Land of Frankincense. It’s a lovely spot, and it’s worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Jabal Samhan

The Jabal Samhan viewpoint offers amazing views of the coastline and mountains, especially during the misty khareef season. Follow the good path to the left from the parking lot until you reach a large natural overhang with benches and shade. 

If you’re up for it, a narrower hiking trail continues along the cliff side, making it perfect for a quick stop or a longer walk.

Ayn Athum Falls

Ayn Athum, one of Salalah’s hidden gems, springs to life after a good downpour. If you visit Salalah during or shortly after the khareef season, it’s worth exploring. 

A series of waterfalls cascade side by side over a uniquely shaped limestone barrier, hugged by lush maidenhair ferns, creeping vines, and a variety of greenery. To top it all off, a mesmerizing aquamarine pool below adds the final touch to this tranquil setting.

Mirbat

Once the main hub of Dhofar and a bustling port for frankincense trade, Mirbat is now a calm fishing village. It’s a neat place to wander around. You should check out the old Omani houses and the traditional dhow boats. 

You can’t miss the small, white tomb of Bin Ali with its two rounded domes – it looks pretty cool. Nearby, the cemetery has lots of interesting stone-carved headstones. Just a bit outside the village, Mirbat has some nice white sand beaches, too. They’re great for a picnic and a dip in the water if it’s hot.

NORTH OF SALALAH

Now, let’s set our sights on Salalah’s northern horizon and explore its hidden charms.

Wadi Uyun

It is a beautiful wadi, only 60km north of Salalah. It’s perfect for hiking, swimming, or camping adventures. The towering cliffs here make quite a sight, but fear not—it’s an easy, breezy 15-minute hike down to the bottom. 

From the car park, head north, cross a small ravine and follow the path along the cliffs until you reach the pools. Some pools are lined with grasses and sedges, while others are crystal clear and ideal for a refreshing swim. 

It’s a picturesque spot that you’ll probably have all to yourself – nature’s little oasis!

Wadi Dawkah Frankincense Tree Park

Dhofar has a well-deserved reputation for being the top producer of the world’s finest frankincense. Thanks to its unique climate and semi-dry terrain, the Boswellia trees, which produce this prized resin, thrive here. 

Frankincense holds such significance in Dhofar’s history that The Land of Frankincense is safeguarded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the site’s four sections is Wadi Dawkah, located about 50km north of Salalah. 

Here, you can explore a portion of the vast Boswellia Tree plantation. You may see some frankincense resin if you get up close to examine the bark.

Greater Dhofar

Now, let’s take our adventure beyond Salalah to greater Dhofar, where each corner holds a new surprise.

Wadi Suneik

About 200 kilometers northeast of Salalah, there’s a hidden oasis waiting to be discovered. Wadi Suneik is situated among towering mountains and surrounded by lush palm trees. It is also known as Khor Senaq or Wadi Al Nakheel. 

It hosts serene aquamarine waters that lazily wind their way to the ocean. It’s off the beaten path, away from the usual Salalah tourist spots. It’s easy to reach from the main coastal road heading north. This oasis is perfect for camping, picnicking, relaxing, and dipping.

To get the best view of Wadi Suneik, you must swim across the pool to the rocks on the opposite side. Don’t worry, it’s not a difficult swim!

You’ll be rewarded with a stunning ocean view once you climb the rocks (it’s easy). A beautiful white sand beach separates the calm water of the wadi from the waves of the sea.

If you’re adventurous, you can walk across the rocky ground toward the beach. However, you may have to swim a short distance at the end to reach the sandy shore.

Birds nest in the grassy areas around the water. To protect these nests, you should use designated entry points. To get the most out of your visit, explore Salalah and Dhofar with local tour guides.

During our second visit to Wadi Suneik, we found loads of litter scattered around despite bins being available near the Wadi entrance. Please carry all your trash while leaving to preserve Mother Nature.

Scenic Spots Along the Coast and Canyons

After leaving Wadi Suneik, road 42 heads north through the mountains, offering some stunning viewpoints. 

The first one is a breathtaking canyon view, easy to miss because it’s hidden from the road. Keep an eye out for a short side road that leads to it. If you’re driving south, a brown tourist sign marks the spot. However, if you’re heading north, there’s no sign.

A ten-minute drive north of the canyon view, another incredible viewpoint awaits you. You will see a vast stretch of pale land and turquoise sea, where the road leaves the mountains and returns to the coast.

Wadi Ash Shuwaymiyyah

Located near the eastern edge of Dhofar Governorate, Wadi Ash Shuwaymiyyah is a beautiful wadi with a lovely swimming hole. It’s worth taking a bumpy detour off the main road. 

From the coastal village of Shuwaymiyyah, follow a graded track for about 11 kilometers through the wide wadi. It has impressive rock formations and cliffs on either side. 

Along the way, you’ll pass a few small farmsteads before reaching a parking area surrounded by palm trees and lush vegetation. The views across the wadi are amazing, but the best part is hidden from sight.

To reach the hidden pool, climb the concrete staircase and follow the falaj through tall grasses. The pool is small but very scenic, with a shallow sinkhole in the middle, creating a two-tone water effect.

Behind the pool, fantastical travertine formations spread out along the cliff face on either side. It’s a stunning spot for a swim. You can even pass through the trickling water to reach a cave-like overhang behind.

Rub al Khali Desert (The Empty Quarter)

Rub al Khali is the largest desert in Oman. It is spread across Yemen, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Dhofar Governorate in Oman. It covers a massive area of 650,000 square kilometers. 

Its towering orange dunes starkly contrast the lush mountains and coast around Salalah. It’s an incredible place for camping and stargazing, with no pollution interrupting the view. Sunrise and sunset over this vast desert are a magical sight.

However, exploring the Empty Quarter Desert Salalah isn’t a journey to take lightly. If you’re going independently, have a 4×4 packed with supplies, extra fuel, and special safety equipment. It’s best to travel with at least one spare vehicle and stick to the main tracks.

Alternatively, you can join desert trips from Salalah. Many tours, including day trips and overnight camping tours, leave from Salalah. You should explore these day tours in Salalah and choose the one that suits you through Viator.

Want to get more info about the best tours in Oman? We can help! 

We’re here to answer questions, offer advice, and review your existing tour plan. We’ll also follow up on our conversation with an email containing links and notes for your guidance. This plan includes a One-Hour Video Consultation for only £100. This way, you can get detailed information about the best tours in Oman.

In addition, we offer a customized tour plan for £220.

The package includes a video consultation, a detailed day-by-day PDF tour plan, lodging and camping suggestions, and a digital map to guide your journey.

Simply contact us through our contact page. Share your plans, and we will help you transform them into perfection. We will provide detailed information about your options and the required budget.