Diving in Oman - 5 Most Beautiful Places For Diving in Oman
Oman is an Arabic country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian peninsula in western Asia. It borders three seas- the Arabian Gulf, The Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. Tourism in Oman is growing at a fast pace.
With its golden dunes, massive forts, extensive beaches and calm surroundings, the idea of diving in Oman at first glance may seem unlikely to be a great diving destination. However, Oman has an extensive 1700 km coastline with water filled with epic marine life and pristine coral reefs. There are more than 1400 different species in the coastal waters of Oman, and many of them are unique to this area, so it offers quite an exciting scuba diving experience. The best part is that it is not a crowded location since divers are still discovering it and hence don't be surprised if you have an entire site to yourselves!
Best Places for Diving In Oman
The Gulf of Oman is a strait with ancient boats called dhows floating on the surface while under the surface, it is bustling with colourful corals, grazing sea turtles, humpbacks and orca pods. Many people go without a guide, but you can get one if you prefer a more hassle-free trip.
In the Gulf of Oman, the famous dive destinations are :
1. Daymaniyat Island
This site is considered to be one of the best places for diving in Oman. It is a 90-minute boat ride from Muscat and enlisted as a World Heritage site. The island boasts beautiful coral gardens, turtle nesting beaches, marine bird colonies and a variety of sharks ranging from Zebra shark to the Whale shark.
Note: These islands are closed from May to October for protection and restoration purposes.
2. Al Fahal Island
This island is also known as the Shark Island and offers a variety of swim-throughs, caves, wrecks, soft and hard coral gardens and the best of all sharks on the seafloor. It looks like an aquarium and has all the varieties of corals that Oman has, which makes it very versatile and vibrant. You can see the schools of barracuda, Mobula rays swimming above you in the clear turquoise water. And how can we forget giant eagle rays! There is plenty to explore, and many divers consider it to be on the top of their diving destinations in Oman.
3. Al Munnassir Wreck
You can find huge schools of snapper, rays, seahorses, nudibranch, soft corals and more at this gorgeous site for diving in Oman. Al Munnassir was sunk by the Royal Navy of Oman in 2003 and had since been developing into a popular diving site. The ship is still in one piece and sits on the sandy bottom with its top about 6 metres below the surface of the water.
Caution: You need an advanced Open Water certification card to access this location.
4. Reefs of Bandar Kharyan
Bandar Kharyan is located 25 km southeast of Muscat and is accessible only by boats. This area is lined with sedimentary rocks which are unique to this area. It predominantly contains shallow coral reefs, honeycomb moray eels and a wide variety of fishes. It has an average depth of 15 metres, so it is excellent for those who are looking for open water certifications.
5. Turtle City
The turtle city is the best diving site for beginners and is located just adjacent to the Al Munnassir wreck. It has a sheltered cove, and various species of sea turtles visit it. You can find hawksbills, green turtles and this place is visited by 5 of the seven species of sea turtles.
Best Time For Diving In Oman
Diving is done all year round in Oman. However, in the season of Khareef which is between June and September, there is no diving down South. The best time for diving is between April and May or September and November with ideal weather conditions and moderate temperatures.
Best Operators for Diving in Oman
1. Mola Mola Diving Centre, Muscat Address: Al Mouj Marina, 18 November St Bookings: molamoladivingcenter.com
2. Extra Divers, Daymaniyat Islands Address: Al Sawadi Beach Resort Bookings: [email protected]
3. Oman Sail Sailing School, Daymaniyat Website: omansail.com
4. Omanta Scuba Diving Academy, Muscat Address: The Boat House, Hotel Intercontinental Bookings & Other info: [email protected]
5. Euro Divers, Muscat Address: Marina Bandar Al Rhowda, Al Saidiyah Street Bookings & Other info: [email protected]
This wooden boat is built in the traditional Arabian style. It offers incredible adventures in the waters of the gulf with action-packed gullies, drop-offs, gorgeous corals and the most fantastic marine life. You can spot green turtles, kingfish, barracuda, eagle rays and whale sharks as a crown on the top!
It offers air-conditioned sun deck, BBQ area, bar for you to enjoy and soak the panoramic views. It has six cabins, and rental equipment is available.
Duration: Liveaboard cruises range from 1 to 7 days. Price: Starting from OMR 570 (USD 2999) Dive Spots: This diving expedition covers the Gulf of Oman, Sheesah Bay and Red Island. Inclusion: Suit, Training and other equipment
2. Oman Aggressor
It is a large vessel with 11 cabins and a gorgeous body. You can cruise for the search of whales, large pelagics, dolphins, pristine reefs and underwater vistas. It offers a large salon, jacuzzi and free wine, juices and beer. There is a digital photo and video centre onboard for underwater photographers.
Duration: Liveaboard cruises are of 8 days and 7 nights. Price: OMR 1150 (USD 2987) Inclusion: Suit, Training and other equipment
3. Red Dhow
It is a small vessel but packs a punch with the very best dive spots in Musandam and is suitable for divers of all levels. You can enjoy close-ups with whale sharks, green turtles, kingfish, king barracudas etc. It offers fantastic food services, flexible diving operations and beautiful deck to soak in the sun and look out for the most amazing views you have ever seen.
Duration: Liveaboard cruises range from 1 to 6 days. Price: Starting from OMR 40/day (USD 103) Inclusion: Suit, Training and other equipment
Tips For Diving In Oman
1. Always ensure that you know about the facilities provided on the cruise. There are chances that you might have to carry stuff like towels or drinking water or even rent equipment beforehand to avoid problems during the trip.
2. Contact the dive centre and ask your queries. If they do not communicate well with you, it is a good indication that it might not be the right choice.
3. Carry your certifications if it are required.
4. Try to book for the first dive of the day as they tend to be the best in terms of visibility.
Hope this guide to diving in Oman helps to choose the best option for you to enjoy an adventure in the alluring land of Oman. Bon Voyage!