Al Wusta Region

Al-Wusta lies south of Ad-Dakhliyah Region and is bordered on the east by Arabian Sea, and on the west by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is the second largest Region geographically after Dhofar, but the smallest demographically, with a population of only 23 thousand.

The Region is enriched with oil and gas and is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including many indigenous species, such as the Arabian Oryx, Desert Rabbits, Mountain Goats, Foxes and over 130 different species of birds.

Al-Wusta boasts a breathtaking coastline stretching for around 170 Km. The coastline is rich with wide bays, rocky caves and inlets. Dolphins and turtles are frequently seen, and the lagoons are resting spots for many migratory birds.

The characteristics of the beaches however differ from Wilayat to another; some are rocky and shingled, others are of clean, white sand. All the coastal areas are subject to light summer rains and moderate temperatures with cool breezes.

Al-Wusta people are semi-nomadic Bedouins, practice fishing, rearing and keeping livestock for a living.

The women are particularly adept in traditional crafts, notably spinning, braiding and weaving baskets out of palm fronds.

Al-Jazir occupies the Southern coast of Al-Wusta, 800 Km from Muscat, edging Dhofar in the South.

Topographical variation bestows an enchanting array of scenes upon the Wilayat; from magnificent beaches like Khowr Ghawi, to the spectacular lakes tinged with pink hue, to the wadis, such as Wadi Rawnab, with its lush vegetation and fresh water believed to be purer than mineral water.

Many of Al-Jazir inhabitants craft farm tools and fishing nets, on top of boat building from animal skins. Prior to 1970, fishermen inured to create caves for shelter, made from rocks and stones packed together without cement, which stand today as derelict reminders of the days before modern housing.

The Wilayat of Ad-Duqm lies to the East of Al-Wusta, 550 Km from Muscat. It features quite diverse topographical features, including beaches, wadis, plains, and mountains.

The weater becomes pleasant during summer due to monsoon rains, which drop temperature to below 30° C, turning the area into an attractive retreat during the hot season.

Ad-Duqm boasts stunning clean spotless sands with pure azure waters, notably Nafoon and Ash-Shou'eir. The beaches of Ras Ad-Duqum and Ras Madraka are favourite stop offs for campers and tourists looking for unspoilt beauty, with each taking the shape of a triangular with its base inland and its top tip in the water. Not far from the beaches, a series of hills extend inland that vary in heights and eventually connect with Eastern Heights of Al-Wusta Region.

Ad-Duqm inhabitants are mainly fishermen. However, temperature drop during summer becomes at a level deemed unsuitable for fishing, instigating the Summer Journey, when fishermen travel north to harvest dates and work in the fields.

The Wilayat of Haima; the administrative centre of Al-Wusta, is almost mid-way between Muscat and Salalah and borders Ad-Dakhliyah in the North, the desert of Empty Quarter in the East and Dhofar in the South.

Haima is a natural habitat for a bounty of wildlife, particularly the Arabian Oryx and Deer, concentrated in Jaaloni area at Jadat Al-Harasis; a 25,000 Km2 sanctuary listed on the World Heritage List. It is an exciting destination for both tourists and environmentalists interested in the protection of wildlife and ecosystem balance.

A number of caves populate the Wilayat, such as Al-Misk and Wadi Sarf. Many of these caves contain subterranean springs and reservoirs. However, none of theses waters are potable.

Traditional medicine, using herbs and other plants, is still practised in Haima. Darma is used to 'absorb gases in the intestine and regulate blood'. The leaves of Al-Harmal tree (African Rue) will aid recovery from colds and headaches, and the Ramrum provides an antidote to scorpion stings and snake bites.

Inhabitants rear goats and camels. Women spin and weave goat hair into many items, such as blankets.

The Wilayat of Mahut is the most densely populated Wilayat in Al-Wusta and is found some 445 Km from Muscat.

Mahut occupies the Northern costal strip of Al-Wusta, hence, is considered the gateway to Al-Wusta and the Southern parts of the Sultanate. It borders A'Sharqiyah Region in the North and Ad-Dakhiliyah Region to the Northwest. Consequently, it forms a pivotal transit station on transport routes linking Nothern and Southern parts of Oman, and from there to India or Africa.

The unspoilt clean beaches of the Wilayat, some of the most gorgeous in entire Region, extend from Ras Al-Ruwais in the Northeast to Sidra in the Southwest, providing ideal retreat during the pleasant months of summer. Some of these beaches include Ras Al-Ruwais, Shinah, As-Swaihil, Khulaf, Ras Khaba, Ras As-Zakhar, Sarab and Sadrah to name a few.

The Wilayat incorporates four islets: Mahut islet, which is surrounded by Mangroves trees and Oman's centre of shrimp fishing, Mi'wal islet, Ar-Rak islet with its stunning natural beauty and Ab islet, a breeding habitat to various sea birds, such as Flamingos, Herons and various Gulls.

South to the islets on the main coast is Barr Al-Hikman, where a daily ferry crosses from Shinah to Masirah Island.