Friday, September 25, 2009

Gorgeous Salalah

After living in the rocky desert for a year, arriving in Salalah's green-wonderland is almost a zen experience. The mountains turn from tan to vibrant green as you go around a bend in the road.

The drive was long, however, from Rustaq to Salalah. The beaches were stunning though and made up for the long drives between our stops. Our favorites were Ras Sidrah and Ras Madrakah. If you take the trek down, don't stop at Duqm, which is advertised in the books as being amazing, but instead it's the new location of a large industrial mill.

The Hanging Gardens of Wadi As-Shwaymiyah took you by surprise. Nothing like desert and rocks for miles around makes you appreciate the wonder of a lagoon. Fresh and green and out of no where.

Salalah itself was like nothing I had seen. The tree-covered mountains looked more like Vietnam or Costa Rica than the Oman I know.

Here's a picture of what I mean. If you have a chance to go to Salalah, go. But time it correctly. Go during Khareef (the rainy season) and check the weather before you go. If it hasn't rained in 3-4 days before you get there (if you go at the tail end of Khareef) it could be all dried up again. The plants respond immediately and amazingly to one rain fall.