Top tip: Scarf, glasses and mobile phone for desert trips
Oman is bordered to the west by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and the Republic of Yemen. The Musandam Peninsula forms a coastal enclave on the Strait of Hormaz. The 1700 miles of coastline are surrounded by the Arabian and Indian Seas. The Hajir Mountains divide the land stretching from the Musandam Peninsula to the Southeast. To the west lies the fertile narrow plain of the Batinah coast dominated by the Jebel Akhdar (The Green Mountain, noted for its picturesque terraced villages). In the south, set apart by a desert, Dhofar has a coastal plain, beyond which are mountains.
Out to sea are the Kuria Muria Islands. The Batinah coast is inhabited by descendants of Asian merchants, Baluchi traders and other Arab nationals, who are more in contact with the international community than the tribesmen of the interior and mountains. Along the coast at Muscat and Matrah, Arab traditions remain strong despite increasing Western influence. In the southern capital of Salalah are many black Omanis descended mainly from former slaves, whereas the interior is populated by the nomadic Bedouin.
The months of June and July are particularly hot. Rainfall varies according to region and in Salalah between June and September there is a light monsoon rain. In terms of clothing, lightweight clothes are worn throughout the year with something slightly warmer for cooler winter evenings. It is also advisable to pack some light rainwear.
Facts and Figures
|309,500 sq km (119,500 sq miles).
|3,608,545 (2010- estimate).
|Muscat- population1,090,797 (2008).
|Arabic is the official language. English is widely spoken. Swahili is also spoken by the population from East Africa. German and French are spoken by hotel staff.
|GMT + 4
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