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Salalah Facts

The back of beyond!!

Here are some facts and figures about our trip to Salalah. The distances are measured from Abu Dhabi island, but of course the distances between places hold true wherever you start. Please use the timings as a guide only, because your times will vary depending on things like time spent at the border and traffic conditions etc. There's nothing worse than trying to stick to somebody else's schedule so just relax, enjoy your trip, and use the times to help you plan, .

I've tried to be as accurate with the figures as possible but there could be some errors in there. (Let me know if you come across any!) Prices were those in Oct. 2002.

Outward Trip
190 km from Abu Dhabi to Jebel Hafeet border (Mezyad) 2 hrs
Allow 20-30 min for border formalities.
307 km to Ibri Hotel 3.5 hrs
422 km to Al Hamra 4.5 hrs
Detour: (467 km up to top of Jebel Shams Road 5.5 - 6 hrs)
459 km Nizwa (Falaj Al Daris) 5 hrs
792 km Camp north of Haima 8.5 hrs (Temp at night down to 25 °C - 3rd Oct)
841 km Haima 9 hrs
937 km Al Ghaftain Rest House 10 hrs
1064 km Quitbit 11 hrs
1260 km Thumrait 12 hr 50 min
1340 km Salalah 14 hr 20 min

Return Trip
519 km From Salalah to turnoff to Rima before Haima 6 hrs.
(Above includes a side trip to Muntasar Oasis near Quitbit)
732 km Khalil
832 km Khor Dirif
Detour: Ras Madrakah
1043 km Camp in Duqm Hills
1333 km Masirah Island (via Hayy)
1390 km Hayy
Detour: Film
1652 km Sinaw
1757 km Nizwa (Falaj Al-Daris Motel) via Sinaw

Crossing to Masirah takes about 90 min. The cost is 10 OR one-way, for the car and its passengers. Ferries seem to leave during the period of two hours either side of high tide. Pay once you are on the ferry. There are toilets on board. Stay in the car if you wish or walk around the deck if you can squeeze between the vehicles. There's a small hotel on the island, some shops, and several petrol stations. We only had time enough to spend one night on the island but, because it's such a great place to explore I would recommend at least two nights if not more.

Apart from a night in Nizwa, and the time we spent in Salalah at Mughsayl and the Beach Villas, we camped for the rest of the time. We paid 24 OR for the night (incl. breakfast) at the Salalah Beach Villas, and 15 OR a night at Mughsayl. The temperature in early October was comfortable for camping, although at some of our camps by the sea, the tent was soaked with condensation in the morning. Finding a site was never difficult. Keeping things cold wasn't a problem because we took an electric cool-box and were able to buy ice at several places. There is a thriving fishing industry so there are many ice factories supplying ice to the trucks transporting the fresh catch. For non arabic speakers, it's a good idea to get someone to teach you the arabic for ice-factory. We had a hilarious time trying to make ourselves understood!!

Including all the side trips and all the exploring, that we did in the Salalah area, we covered just under 4,500 km in nine days. Despite this, it didn't seem like we spent a lot of time driving, because the journeys were interesting and easy in the main. Fuel is a bit more expensive in Oman than in the UAE and we ended up spending UAE Dh 1043 (US$ 284) on fuel, so don't forget to budget for this. We never had trouble finding fuel as many of the old 'oil-drum' petrol stations have been replaced with modern ones, and additional ones have been built. We didn't need unleaded fuel, and I can't remember if this was always available, so it might be worth checking on this if your vehicle needs it.

We didn't take an extra spare tyre like some people do, and we got away with just one, but we did get a puncture on the way home near Ibri. Puncture repairers in Oman tend to put tubes in punctured tubeless tyres, although my research shows that this is probably not good practice. Having said that, it may be worth taking a spare inner-tube which might just get you out of trouble. I would also take one of those instant repair kits in an aerosol can that you can find in some car accessory shops. If you have to buy a replacement tyre you may have difficulty finding a tubeless model, if my experience is anything to go by. Bear in mind that, in Oman, Nissan Patrols, and Landcruisers are far less common than in the UAE, and therefore the tyres may be difficult to obtain in more remote areas. If you drive a Nissan or Toyota pick-up then you'll have no problem with spares!!

© Roy L Richards 2012
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Updated Jan 2010

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