Capital of Oman’s southeastern Dhofar province, Salalah is the country’s second city and birthplace of its ruler, Sultan Qaboos. Between July and September, monsoon rains from the Arabian Sea have a transformative effect on its dramatic landscape, turning the desert mountains inland green and the wadis into rushing torrents. Bananas and coconuts grow along the coast, but the produce most closely associated with this coast is frankincense, an aromoatic resin obtained from the rare Boswellia tree, which thrives in Dhofar’s limestone mountains.
Frankincense is believed to have been traded across the Arabian peninsula for more than 6,000 years. Ships from as far afield as Rome and China were drawn to the ancient port of ancient Samhuram (aka ‘Khor Rori’ or ‘Losha Liman’), the ruins of which can be seen on an excursion from Salalah.
The town is also the springboard for explorations of the Empty Quarter, or ‘Rub al Khali’, the largest shifting sand desert in the world, which sprawls across the southern third of the Arabia peninsula. Join us for overnight trips into this fascinating landscape, which you’ll explore by camel and 4WD, sleeping in traditional Bedouin tents. The journey is worth doing just to see the night skies of the Rub al Khali, regarded as some of the clearest on the planet, with zero light pollution.