Thursday, March 15, 2012

Musandam, Oman Dhow Tour

We went on the "Day package from Dubai/Sharjah to Khasab, Musandam" with Khasab Travel & Tours.  It turned out to be a great idea and a really great experience.  The tour guides were very kind and were clearly working hard to make sure it went as smoothly as possibly.  It seems like a relatively new tour so there is some room for improvement like the visa timings which took a lot longer than expected.  We were supposed to get back to Dubai by around 6pm but instead we were back around 10pm.  So if you do this tour, I wouldn't plan anything else for that day.  The tour was totally worth it though and I would recommend it for anyone!

Here we are at the border for the UAE and Oman getting the visa processed.

It was so beautiful in this area and there were some little towns.

Then we drove through the mountains to get to the area just next to the small town of Khasab.

We boarded on the dhow and were off on the adventure!

this guy was steering the dhow and was quite a character and played some good music

The views were stunning and it was so nice to be out in the sea!

This little bedouin village in the rocks has full electricity, internet, and water being brought in daily by the government to preserve them as part of the culture.  The kids go to the main town for school during the week and return on the weekend.

We got to swim around and climb all over Telegraph Island.

Telegraph Island (also known as Jazirat al Maqlab) is situated in the Elphinstone Inlet, about a mile off the shore of the Musandam Peninsula, which is part of the sultanate of Oman. The inlet is a fjord surrounded by high mountains, with notable geology in the rock strata which dip downwards under the immense pressures caused by the Arabian tectonic plate meeting (and subducting beneath) the Eurasian plate. In the 19th century, it was the location of a British repeater station used to boost telegraphic messages along the Persian Gulf submarine cable, which was part of the London to Karachi telegraphic cable. It was not an easy posting for the operators, with the severe summer heat and hostility of local tribes making life extremely uncomfortable. Because of this, the island is, according to some travel agents and journalists, where the expression "go round the bend" comes from, a reference to the heat making British officers desperate to return to civilization, which meant a voyage around the bend in the Strait of Hormuz back to India. 

 Today, Telegraph Island is an eerie reminder of the British Empire. Abandoned in the mid-1870s, the island has remained deserted and only the crumbling ruins of the repeater station and the operators' quarters can be seen. As tourism has grown in the Gulf region, so the island is regularly visited by dhows carrying tourists to view the ruins and to fish and snorkel in the waters around it. However, the intense heat (particularly in the summer months) endures.

This is the area where we swam in the Straight of Hormuz.  The water was icy cold.

The lunch (left) was local food with a hint of Pakistani taste.  Quite good and not too spicy for me.  I found this sea urchin shell (right) near the island when we were swimming.

There were lots of colorful fish in the water!  They had some snorkeling gear but it was very used and some were clearly old as they were missing parts or falling apart a bit.  If you like snorkeling, I recommend bringing your own gear if you own some.  I think it would be really worth it!

The tour also promised dolphins and they didn't disappoint!  We saw loads of them and they even swam along with the dhow.

The sea floor was also covered with sea urchins.  I picked one up and it wasn't as spiky as you might imagine and it was actually very delicate and some of the spines broke off when I was carefully holding it.

the town of Khasab in the distance

We had many goats who met us when we got back from our voyage!

a lovely sunset before the drive back to Dubai

Khasab Travel & Tours
Warba Centre, Mezanniane Floor, Office No.40
Opposite to J.W.Marriot Hotel Deira - Dubai.UAE
+971 4 2669950
+971 4 2686857
+971 50 5518359


  1. Wonderful article, Explained great experience about Musandam Dhow Cruise in gulf. Thank you

  2. Among one of the attractive activities is dhow cruise trip through the fjords of Musandam.