The dolphin shoals are most commonly seen in Muscat and Musandam Governorate, although they can also be seen in Al Sharqiyah South Governorate, Dhofar region and Al Wasta. Marina Bandar Al-Rawdha in Muscat hosts plenty of tour operators offering sighting tours. There are many types of dolphins that visit Oman. The most common is the Indian Ocean dolphin, the Rissos dolphin, the common bottlenose dolphin, the striped dolphin, the long-beaked common dolphin, and the Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphin. Dolphin watching is a popular tourist attraction in Oman.
Here are the best places to watch dolphins in their natural habitat:
1. Bandar Al KhayranThis location is an idyllic river valley located 20 kilometres from Muscat. It has several types of intriguing rock formations, exotic islands, saltmarshes and long, narrow inlets of pristine waters. It's also called Al Khiran by some locals. It's a lovely beach to spend an afternoon, and if you swim far enough into its waters, it is home to many friendly dolphins. Many tour operators bring their boats close to watch these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.
2. Duqm BeachThis beach in Al Wasta Governorate was once a sleepy fishing village. Today, it has become a commercial location with Crown Plaza and The Park Inn by Radisson Hotel located close by. Duqm Beach has the second largest dry dock in the Middle East and it has a booming gas industry. If you're lucky, you can look far into the waters and see dolphins swimming on the horizon.
4. Dhofar BeachesDhofar is the southernmost region in Oman. It's got lots of beautiful beaches such as Al Maghsayl and Al Hafah that are known for water sports like diving, snorkelling and water skiing. Dhofar boasts of exciting lagoons and, if you're lucky, wild flamingos wandering the wilderness. There are also plenty of caves to be explored. The ice-blue waters of Dhofar host plenty of dolphin shoals.
5. Isole Al HillanayatThis is an island located 40 kilometres from the Dhofar coast. It's got plenty of untouched fisheries, making it an amazing location for explorers. The island is inhabited with friendly locals who rent out equipment for a great variety of water sports. However, reaching the island can be tricky. The waters are dangerous for unskilled boatmen and it can be a tiring and physically challenging journey.
6. Bandar Khayran ReserveThis natural reserve can be reached by a forty-minute boat ride from Marina Bandar Al-Rawdha in Muscat. It is a popular diving spot with over twenty frequented locations that provide an amazing view of the reserve's coral reef. There's a lush mangrove-filled lagoon as well. The beach has perfect waters for boating and camping, and when the sun is high up in the sky, you can see dolphins jumping from the surface of the waters.
Timings: They are usually conducted in the mornings between 8 AM to 12 PM.
Price: Between OMR 15-20 for adults and OMR 7-10 for children below the age of 12.
Tour Duration: 2-3 hours
Inclusions: Most packages include pick-up and drop to your hotel, along with snacks and refreshments. Ask your tour operator about all the packages available as many packages include dolphin sighting, turtle sighting, and snorkelling as well.
Things to Know Before Dolphin Watching in Oman
- The best time to go dolphin watching is between the months of October and May.
- They're less likely to be spotted or leap out of the water on cloudy days, so it's recommended to go dolphin watching on bright, sunny days.