Oman’s Seasonal Secrets

With so much seasonal and physical diversity, perhaps the question you should be asking yourself about Oman is not so much "When to go" but “Where to go?"

In very basic terms, Oman’s climate is typical of the region, with hot autumns (Sept-Nov/Average high 30-36°C) and springs (Mar-May/Average high 29-39°C) connecting even hotter summers (June-Aug/Average high 36-40°C) and mild Mediterranean-esque winters (Dec-Feb/Average high 25-27°C). It is worth noting that the heat here is a dry one, not muggy. But unlike its neighbours, Oman’s wild geography and climatic quirks have a surprising influence on temperature and what you’ll end up packing for your visit. Travel to the Hajar Mountains that rise behind Muscat and you will need that cardigan, even in summer. Something even warmer in winter. In a country the size of Italy it’s probably not that surprising that the weather is different here and there, but few expect such diversity in this part of the world.

Arabian Gulf
Arabian Gulf

For example, it would be fair to consider a place on the Arabian Gulf with miles of unspoiled beaches, rolling ocean swells and a canopy of coconut palms is a mere mirage. More so if monsoon rains from the Indian Ocean bring moisture-laden clouds ashore like clockwork and cast them adrift in swirls of eerie mist. But this is Salalah every summer in Oman’s southern Dhofar region when the 'Khareef' monsoon bathes the coastline and mountains here in soothing rain, cooling the air and carpeting the landscape in lush emerald-green vegetation and transforming wadis into spectacular waterfalls and swollen streams.

One thousand kilometres south of Muscat, Salalah’s many physical and historical charms, and summer temperatures that average just 29 degrees make it simply irresistible to local, regional and international visitors. A sparkling new international airport opened here in 2015 making it a convenient stopover or side-trip for travellers fleeing the southern hemisphere winter for the European summer.

And while it’s at its best in summer, throughout the year the forested valleys and creeks (Khors) around Salalah provide sanctuary to hundreds of species of migratory birds, with many swooping in from Africa and Asia. Keen twitchers might spot flamingos, egrets, even birds of prey across the seasons.

Migratory Sea Turtles
Migratory Sea Turtles

Elsewhere along Oman’s more-than-3000 kilometres of coastline, summer brings migratory sea turtles ashore on hundreds of beaches during the breeding season. Of the 20,000 turtles that haul themselves from the warm sparkling waters to lay their precious eggs, the majority swim hundreds of miles from the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea and the East African Coast. Mid-summer through to October is the peak viewing season at Ras al Jinz Turtle sanctuary – the most easterly point in the Sultanate.

Winter is lovely right across Oman but it is particularly delightful out in the desert which can be stifling during the warmer months. The desert's cool nights and clear, star-spangled skies are breathtaking. Its mighty, wind-carved golden dunes are guaranteed to make you reconsider your place in the grand scheme of earthly things. The tranquility here is totally disarming and unforgettable.

incense
The rosewater villages of Jebel Akhdar

But there is probably nowhere quite like Oman’s high mountains to see Oman’s seasons play out. Popular in summer due to the cool temperatures up over 2000 metres altitude, in the milder months the mountains come into their own. The cool climate around Jebel Akhdar is ideal for the cultivation of roses, which bloom for a brief moment in March and April before being harvested by hand for the production of prized local rosewater. Visit during this time and you’ll be intoxicated by the fragrance on the air.

In May, the apricot harvest commences followed by summer fruits like peaches, figs, pears, almonds and apples. Autumn sees pomegranates, grapes, Walnuts and olives ready for market. And winter? Well, in winter you’ll no doubt find yourself rugged up around an open fire pondering the possibility of a morning frost or even a light dusting of snow, and asking yourself What a place is this?

There are secrets like this right across Oman that sparkle at particular times of year.

Come to Oman and see for yourself.

Anytime.