The Sultanate of Oman
The Sultanate of Oman is bordering Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. It is bordered by Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman on 1700km of coastline. Omani enclave of Musandam forms Strait of Hormuz with Iran.
The Muscat region is the most populated. For a capital, its size remains modest. blocked by the sea to the north, and mountains to the east and south, the agglomeration stretched westward on a narrow coastal plain. If we consider Muscat without its agglomeration, it is the smallest capital of the world with only 3 km2.
This massif shelters the highest mountains of the country, with Jebel Shams culminating at 3009 meters. On the northern side, long, very rugged valleys direct rainwater towards the sea: Wadi Mistal, Wadi Bani Kharus, Wadi Bani Awf, Wadi Sahtan. These valleys are home to beautiful mountain oases, both at the bottom of the valley and on the rock faces.
South slope, the eastern end of the massif is marked by the "plateau" of Jebel Akhdhar, fairly high altitude area culminating between 1800 and 2400m. The cool climate allows the cultivation of fruits and vegetables from temperate countries. The dry Mediterranean type natural vegetation is also more important than elsewhere: wild olive trees, juniper trees, etc ... Relatively long canyons descend from the southern plateau (Wadi Al Muaydeen, Wadi Tanuf, Wadi Kamah).
The central zone of the massif has a southern slope forming large inclined limestone slabs cut by narrow and short canyons. It is at the western end of the massif that is the highest point of the country: the Jebel Shams (3009m) which gives north slope on the Wadi Sahtan and south side on the Wadi Nakhr, better known as "Grand Canyon of Arabia "whose depth reaches nearly 1500m in some places.
It is a hilly area between the Western Hajar and Eastern Hajar. This has always been the natural passage to cross the mountain range.
The western part of the massif presents a particularly rugged relief. It shelters in particular wadi Dayqah, river with the most important flow of all the country. It is also the refuge of the Arabian Tahr, animal that looks like a wild goat. The rest of the massif is occupied by a plateau culminating in 2400m. Extremely arid this plateau is home to a very sparse population of Bedouin breeders. On the other hand, it is cut by splendid canyons of which many see the water to flow there all the year, which makes it luxuriant valleys. North side, the canyons arrive to the seaside: Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi. On the south side, the water flows towards the Wahiba sand desert; this is particularly the case of the Wadi Bani Khalid or you can swim, 2 steps from the desert ...
The coast west of Muscat consists of a coastal plain about 40 km wide. It is infiltrated by mountain water which can be drawn for irrigation. It is a very populated coast. To the east of Muscat, for 50km, the mountains throw themselves into the sea and form splendid wild creeks. Then the coast extends to Cape Ras Al Had which marks the boundary between the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. This area is formed by small plateaus interspersed with beautiful white sand beaches.
Between the mountains of the North and those of Dhofar in the South, a large desert area shelters some spectacular landscapes. The Wahiba Sand Desert stretches from the feet of the eastern Hajar and along the Indian Ocean for some 300km. Rub Al Khali (The Empty Quarter, in Arabic) is the largest desert in Arabia, the most arid and hostile on the planet. Mainly located in Saudi Arabia, it overflows on the Omani lands A salt desert, the Umm As Samim, extends not far from the border with the United Arab Emirates The coast bathed by the Indian Ocean is very wild varied: sometimes rocky , sometimes long sandy beaches, sometimes even the dunes that flow into the sea ...
Province apart, the Dhofar enjoys a particular climate, fauna and flora. Monsoon tails come crashing on the Dhofar mountains between July and September. The climate then becomes tropically humid. The mountains are green and we see cows and camels grazing in the near ... Known in ancient times as the Arabia Felix, Dhofar was part the main production area of Frankincense which then had a value well above that of gold. It is this resin that brought wealth and fame to the region.
This Omani enclave forms the strait of Ormuz Arabian coast. It is a strategic territory that gives Oman the role of guardian of the Gulf. It is also a superb region known as "Norway of Arabia", in reference to its jagged coastline or mountains rising to more than 2000m fall into the sea to form landscapes reminiscent of the Norwegian fjords.
Omanis talk about 2 seasons:
hot, and cold.
The "hot" goes from April to November. Temperatures are always above 35 degrees during the day. At the hottest of the summer, it can do up to 50 degrees during the day and 30 at night.
The "cold" is winter. The temperatures are more pleasant. It can even be a little cool to the plain. Average temperature is 25 degrees during the day and 15 at night. It is cold in the mountains at night.
Northern Oman is influenced by the Mediterranean disturbance regime. The rains are irregular in the north. They can intervene at any time of the year, with a greater frequency in winter, autumn, and spring. In the inter-seasons, convective storms can also occur on the mountains.
The Dhofar has a different climate: a dry season, and a rainy season. It receives monsoon tails from July to September. He is then bathed in fog and everything becomes turns green. Then, the dry greenery, and the trees lose their leaves as in winter with us in Europe.
Oman has a very low population density (14h / km2). The population is now predominantly urban, but the cities are very spread out. Many Omanis come to live in town for work but they remain very attached to their villages to which they return every weekend. Omanis have a tribal organization. The family name is a tribal name and a meaning. In each city, village or township, there is a majority tribe. Omanis attach importance to the history of their tribes.
Oman has many different ethnic groups, the main ones being :
Oman is largely a Muslim country. The majority branch is Ibadism. It is a strict form of Islam in the sense that one tries to respect as much as possible the religious precepts of the Koran. as much as possible It is also a very tolerant type of Islam: Ibadites in particular have always refused to fight with other Muslims and have great respect for "People of the Book" (Jews and Christians) who pray to the same unique God. Christians and Hindus also live in Oman and can practice their religion without any problems. The government even helps to build churches.
The Sultanate of Oman is a relatively rich country.
Since 1970, oil revenues have enabled a rapid modernization of the country. Sultan Qaboos is very concerned not to see Omanis destitute. Public services (schools and hospitals) are free for the Omani and reach the remote countryside. The school system is effective up to secondary level. School is compulsory but free, as is transfer by the school bus, so that almost all children (boys and girls) are at school. On the other hand, only a limited number of places are offered at public university. Places are reserved for the best students. Young Omanis have a good basic culture, but many have no specialization.
At the beginning of the reign of Sultan Qaboos, the administration was nonexistent. It was also necessary to redistribute oil revenues to rapidly improve the standard of living of the population. A large number of Omanis were then hired as civil servants. To prepare for the post-oil era, an "Omanisation" policy has been launched, which aims to increase Omani employment in the private sector. The main natural resources are oil (reserves for 20 years) and gas (reserves for 80 years). In order to prepare the country for conversion, the government wants to provide the country with good infrastructure and industrial clusters to attract business and stimulate the private sector. It also focuses on tourism development.
Desert country.The Sultanate of Oman is home to vegetation particularly adapted to drought. There are over a hundred species of acacia, agaves, and shrubs with succulent or leathery leaves. After the rains, we see a small patch of grass covering the ground. The region of Dhofar enjoys a particular climate, is particularly rich in endemic flora. Particularly noteworthy are Boswelia Sacra (Incense Tree), Dragon's Blood, and Baobabs.
Animal life.In the northern mountains the fennecs, foxes of Arabia, jackals, scorpions, snakes, partridges, raptors, and gazelles are relatively numerous. The Arabian tahrs are confined to some remote and difficult to reach massifs. Some leopards and Arabian wolves also survive in Dhofar. A reserve in the central part of the country protects the oryx.
Raptors are also common (Egyptian vultures, tawny vultures, eagles). In the palm groves we also see beautiful colorful birds, the most common being Indian rollers and bee-eaters.
Oman counts as one of the richest waters in the world concerning its abundance of fish.
The aquatic fauna is particularly rich. In addition to the many multicolored fish, Oman is a paradise for sea turtles that swim off the coast and come to nest on many beaches.
The seabirds are also very numerous, especially near the lagoons and on the wild beaches that stretch along the Indian Ocean.
The Omani breakfast varies and is often salty (mashed beans, beans, hard-boiled egg, or Omani bread and honey). It is always accompanied by sugared milk tea. In restaurants we find breakfasts of Indian influence: Dal (lentils), Kima (meat ax, tomato, peas)
Lunch is the most important dish of the day. It is based on rice, cooked in different ways, always fragrant and succulent: Mandi, Kebsa, Maqboos, Kabuli, Biryani, etc ... It is accompanied by meat, chicken or fish.
Dinner is usually lighter: meat or vegetables eaten with bread.
Fish is abundant, varied, and inexpensive; it's a treat! p>
There are several types of bread in Oman: Omani bread (a very thin pancake), lebnani, tannour, chapathis, barotas p>
Some festive dishes. p>
There are several types of bread in Oman: Omani bread (a very thin pancake), lebnani, tannour, chapathis, barotas. p>
Some typical dishes.
Qahwa is the local drink. p>
This is a light coffee flavored with cardamom. It is drunk all day long. It is the rule to eat dates or even fruits before drinking coffee. We bring 3 cups, whatever the number of guests. Everyone drinks in turns. Qahwa is never sweet.
The tea is usually sweet and milky. It's called Chai.
You can drink in Oman delicious fresh fruit juices at a low price.
Alcohol is not over-the-counter in Oman. Non-Muslim expatriates can apply for a card to buy alcohol at 2 stores in Muscat. Alcohol can be consumed on site at licensed tourist hotel bars. It is also obviously forbidden to consume alcohol in public, with the exception of hotel bars. You can bring alcohol to Oman and even buy it at Duty Free in Muscat.