Wadi Darbat is a natural park with majestic views of waterfalls, lakes, mountains, caves, wildlife and lush green vegetation. There is a 100 meter waterfall and many cave chambers with old stalactites and stalagmites. The caves were used by the shepherds as shelter and one can see colored paintings of animals on the cave walls. At the end of the Wadi, there is a cave which is considered to be the largest natural cave in Oman.
Nabi Ayoub's Tomb lies about 40 kilometers from Salalah on Jable Ittin. Nabi Ayoub's Tomb, marks the place where the remains of the Prophet, can be found. On the walls of the building are verses from the Holy Quran. Near the tomb, a small stone mosque is believed
to have been used by Nabi Ayoub for prayers. It is advisable to take off your shoes before entering and women should cover their heads with a scarf.
Another Scenic location of natural spring is Ain Homran. It is an excellent spot for bird watching. Seven different species of eagles have been identified at Ain Homran by a group of international bird watchers. Due to the nature of the place, there are many mosquitoes and insects so make sure to apply some cream to avoid scratching! It is not a big deal but it is annoying
It is the cultural centre of Salalah and has on display the Al Musnad writings, ancient scriptures and coins dating back to 11th century AD, pottery dating back to the middle ages and traditional irrigation tools and manuscripts. The museum is open Saturday through Wednesday from 8am to 2pm
Mughsail Bay has one of the most beautiful beaches in Oman. When I was last there, it was totally deserted, except for thousands of migrating terns. It's a good spot for beach activities and birdwatching. You can combine a visit here with a trip to the blowholes, which are just round the headland at the western end of the bay.
In downtown Salalah, next to Lulu Shopping Center, is a very unusual tomb. It is the tomb of Nabi Umran, also known as Imran, who was said to be the father of the Virgin Mary, which would make it a very important pilgrimage centre. But, hang on, it is also said that he may have been the father of Moses instead, or somebody good anyway. His stone sarcophagus is 33 m long, which has given rise to speculation that he may also have been a giant.
Anyway, it's a pleasant place, with a small mosque and the building housing the tomb, at the back of which there is a small garden with peacocks, guinea fowl and other birds.
Admission is free, but you will probably find that a self-appointed Indian guard will accompany you in and be happy to receive a small tip. I gave him OR 1 and he was overjoyed and asked me to come back again. I probably will as it's a nice place.
Burj A'Nahdah, better known in English as the Clocktower, is the most prominent of the monuments which decorate the roundabouts around Salalah. It is a useful landmark for finding your way around by car. Salalah Airport is on the northern exit road and Lulu Shopping Center is just off this roundabout to the south.
To be honest, the modern city of Salalah doesn't have much in the way of attractive monuments or landmark buildings to commend it. Burj A'Nahdah is probably the best there is.
Wadi Darbat is one of the most beautiful valleys in the Arabian peninsula. A river flows through here to the sea at Khor Rawri. After heavy rain during the khareef (June-September) there is an impressive waterfall at the southern end of the wadi. The wadi sides are densely forested. Nomads camp on the valley bottom while their herds of camel graze on the lush pastures. You can often see White Storks feeding amongst the camels.
Al-Husn Souq is sometimes also called the Frankincense Souq, as this is one of the main things sold here. In fact, one section of the spouq specializes in frankincense and other types of incense and perfume, while another section sells traditional Omani clothes and textiles. There are also large numbers of tailors' shops here as well as a few simple restaurants.
Previous sultans, including the current sultan's father, Sultan Said, lived in Salalah, but Sultan Qaboos has moved to Muscat. He still uses the Sultan's Palace in Salalah as his summer residence, however.
The palace, known as Al Husn, was originally built by Sultan Turki in the nineteenth century, but has been extended by successive sultans, and it is now a big, modern complex of buildings, overlooking the beach, south of the city centre. It is surrounded on the landward side by a stone wall and entered through big teak doors. The stretch of beach immediately in front of the palace is off limits to the general public, but you can get quite close and take photographs of the palace. The armed sentry doesn't seem to mind.
The Salalah region is one of the best birdwatching areas in the Middle East. Good locations include just about anywhere in the Dhofar Mountains, Mughsail Bay and the ains (springs) and khors (creeks) to the east of Salalah.
Khor Ruri, also sometimes transliterated as Khawr Rouri, is a creek just to the east of Taqah. Here the water and reed beds attract a lot of birds, making it a birdwatching hotspot. In fact, nearly 200 species of bird have been recorded here including Greater Flamingos, Spoonbills, Widgeons, Mallards, Shoveler, Garganey, Teals, Spoonbills, Black-tailed Godwits, Ospreys, Great Cormorants, Cotton Teals, Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, Grey and Red-necked Phalaropes, Black-winged Stilts, Black-necked Grebes, Little Grebes, Grey Herons, Great Egrets, Squacco Herons, Western Reef Herons, Cattle, Purple Herons, Common Terns, Osprey, Marsh Harriers and Reed Warblers. On my last visit here, I saw many of these, with Flamingos, Spoonbills ansd Ospreys being particularly visible.
The creek was once the site of a frankincense port and on a hill, overlooking it, is the important archaelogical site of Sumhuram.
Sumhuram was an important trading port between the 4th century BC and the 4th century AD. Today it is an impressive archaeological site with a beautiful location on a hill, overlooking Khor Ruri and the sea. There are extensive stone walls as well as a temple, residential area, storehouses and gateway to the harbour. A number of finds from the site, including cooking pots, jars and jewellery, are on display in the Museum of the Frankincense Land at Al-Baleed.
Admission OR 1 per vehicle.
The citadel was where the ruler resided. It is just oppsite the grand mosque. The excavated portions include the northern side, which comprised an external wall and a round tower at the wall’s centre. Another tower has been revealed in the north-eastern corner, while the north-western corner was linked by another wall to the main city wall. Excavations continue to uncover other towers on the southern side of the fort.
The citadel consisted of several storeys, surrounded by a wall. The latest excavations have been on the citadel’s southern side, overlooking the grand mosque. A tower, the main entrance and a winding path leading up some stairs to the upper storeys have been revealed. Some of the upper floors have also been excavated. The path leads to some chambers in the north, six of which have already been uncovered. One of these rooms included a stratum of burned ash mixed with bronze, which suggests it may have been a workshop.
Al Baleed's Grand Mosque was the greatest building in the city. It covered an area of 1,732 sq metres, had 144 stone pillars, a central courtyard and a large minaret, which was at least 5 metres high. The mosque was first built during the 10th century and remained in use until the 16th century. Most of the columns you can see standing today appear to be recent reconstructions, but some of the original columns are laid out on the ground in front of the mosque. Other original features which you can still clearly see are the mihrab and the ablution area.