Window to the world: Oman30 Aug
With it's stunning architecture, iconic desert scenes and world-class fly fishing, if you’re looking to lead the pack rather than follow them then you’d do well to give Oman a visit.
Oman – the new Dubai
Not quite an undiscovered jewel, but certainly a market destination still bypassed by the mainstream, Oman is the place to be for those looking for that elusive combination of the unspoilt, luxury and a taste of something new.
It’s unlikely to stay this way for too long, as the country is aiming to increase visitor numbers to almost 12 million by 2040, with the government investing billions into new developments to shift the economic focus of the country from oil to tourism.
However, this is the window in which to visit Oman, as the country remains, as yet, untouched by the political issues that have beset its neighbouring regions and is still relatively inaccessible to those who cannot stretch to five-star opulence.
The whistle-stop guide to Oman
⦁ The country’s capital, Muscat, is the go-to pit-stop on any trip to Oman, and provides everything you’d expect from an Arabian adventure, complete with souks (Muttrah Souk) and mosques – and in particular the shimmering white marble of the Sultan Qaboos’s Grand Mosque, which is the capital’s main attraction
⦁ Just an hour away from Muscat, Al Sifah offers a golden beach complete with sand dunes for those who don’t fancy the whole desert experience
⦁ Beyond Muscat, the up-and-coming regions of choice include Wahbia Sands, the jaw-dropping iconic desert scenes that most people dream of from this kind of holiday, with several Bedu tourist camps peppered throughout the desert landscape, which offer a glimpse into the nomadic way of life that somehow exists in harmony with the unforgiving and brutal climate
⦁ For those who want a retreat from the dry desert heat, the mountains offer fresher climates and contrast to the shifting sands. Notable places to visit include Sharah Al Alamayn, which gives an unparalleled view over the mountain range, while higher up at over 3,000 metres, Jabal Shams is the highest mountain in the country located north of Al Hamra town. This part of the Al Hajar Mountains range offers spectacular views into Wadi Ghul, the ‘Grand Canyon’ of Oman
⦁ But for those who want something completely off the beaten track, and let’s face it, this is not a terribly well-worn track anyway, those in the know are going to Oman for the fly fishing under the guidance of world class experts
Fly Fishing in Oman – but without the salmon
Despite the Yemen tourist board issuing a statement that contrary to Ewan McGregor’s film portrayal, that there is in fact no salmon fishing in Yemen, in neighbouring Oman, the dream lives on, with the less politically turbulent Omani coastline offering the opportunity to fish for permit, trevally species (giant, golden, yellow spot), bluefish, milkfish and queen fish, billfish, dorado and tuna.
Quick to spot the burgeoning demand for Oman, and fishing in Arabia, Arabian Sport Fly Fishing, is a company that offers professionally guided, tailor-made saltwater fly fishing trips throughout Oman.
Both Brandon and Clare grew up with international fishing as an integral part of their lives, and have travelled the world pursuing their sport. With extensive experience of what the world has to offer in fishing, they were quick to identify that Oman offered something special and somewhat uncharted, and was the perfect place to start their own fly fishing concept.
The couple are based 20 minutes away from Salalah Airport at Hawana Marina, and arrange all the transfers and accommodation for their guests.
Whether travelling alone or with family, the couple are able to plan trips so that everyone gets what they want from the holiday, with 90% of their guests booking onto a 6-day fishing trip.
For more details on booking a fly fishing holiday in Oman, visit the Arabian Fly Sport Fishing website.
Somewhere to stay
If you’re looking for somewhere amazing to stay, you could do worse than book into the Anantara hotels, one of which is by the coast, the other is 6,500 feet above sea level in the mountains of Jabal Ahkdar. With its cliff-edge infinity pool overlooking the Saiq Plateau, this hotel is becoming an attraction in itself. Rooms come with balconies with canyon views. The hotel is a two-hour drive from Muscat airport and only accessible by 4-wheel drive.
Sister hotel Al Baleed Resort, Salalah by Anantara is closer to the airport and the only luxury resort in its local area, located next to the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Site, Al Baleed Archaeological Park, in addition to the Botanical Garden and Museum of Frankincense. The beach lagoon oasis is sumptuous in its design, inspired by the lavish coastal fortresses that characterise the area, complete with tropical gardens and water features.
Guests have a choice of tailored menus served by a personal chef and waiter either on the beach, in the gardens or in the privacy of guests’ villas. Facilities include a fully-equipped gym, watersports centre (motorised and non-motorised), outdoor infinity pool, kids club and library. For more inspiration visit the Anantara website.
Images courtesy of the Arabian Fly Sport Fishing
If you enjoyed this article, why not take a look at our Window on the world – Assynt House blog post, a wonderful destination for some respite in the Highlands.