DHOFAR: From epic MOUNTAINS to the COAST – Oman's best kept SECRET

DHOFAR: From epic MOUNTAINS to the COAST – Oman's best kept SECRET

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(tranquil music) Vertical, rugged cliffs, turquoise blue water, arched coconut palms and empty white sand beaches. What sounds like a secret paradise is reality in the region Dhofar, the least visited part of Oman. We discovered the best places, drove to the highest mountains of the state and along one of the most beautiful coastlines on earth. (lively music) (dramatic music) - Today we're going to our first Omani mountain, which is very close to here and we're gonna explore the area a little bit and go along the coast.

- I feel like doing this all over again, starting here from Salalah again. But this time, we are not heading into the desert but to the mountains of the state here and the state here is called Dhofar. (lively music) Salalah is the capital of the Dhofar governorate, the southernmost region in the country, nestled between Yemen, the Rub'al Khali Desert and the Arabian Sea. Besides of a few private bus connections that cover the most common routes like the direct way to the city Muscat, there's no real public transportation in the state and the only way to move around is by car or cab, even within the city of Salalah. (lively music) - Wow, these city roads of Salalah are really so orderly with all these palm trees.

We will still stay about 15 or 20 minutes here on the main road and then already turn off to the mountains. Isn't that crazy? Yesterday the desert, today the mountains and the coast. Dhofar is the furthest south and remotest province in Oman, which is why Dhofar tends to be overlooked by most travelers who prefer to stick to the northern destinations around Muscat instead. But it is very popular amongst Omani tourists because Dhofar has such a unique landscape. (pensive music) - Let's turn off to the mountains and even though we are only about 30 kilometers from Salalah, here the real countryside roads will start.

(lively music) - Wow, this road here is very steep. I don't know if you can see that on the video but it is really unusual steep. Very funny. I don't think we have such steep roads somewhere in the Alps in Europe or so. (pensive music) From the vast desert to white sand beaches and to high mountains, Dhofar has some of the most diverse nature of Oman and it is the only state on the whole Arabian Peninsula that is influenced by a monsoon season. (tranquil music) - Very windy.

(tranquil music) - We are getting closer to our first destination to the mountains of Jabal Samhan. I hope you pronounce it like that. (lively music) With 1,300 meters, Jabal Samhan is one of the highest places in Dhofar but it is not one peaking mountain but a mountain range that has a high plateau that you can explore on a gravel road. (tranquil music) (lively music) - So let's see how far we get.

I actually saw on the maps that there are supposed to be some viewpoints on some parts of this gravel road here, so let's see. (lively music) - So what's that? There's a sign. It says Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve. (pensive music) - Now I just went by the sign but I feel like it said that the road is maybe forbidden. Should I pretend that I didn't see it or just go back and check it out one more time? I think I go back.

Don't want to ride here illegally. (pensive music) (motorbike roaring) - So we just wanted to continue this gravel road but it turned out that you need a permit to enter this nature reserve. So we unfortunately have to turn around. I think actually you can go there because Google says there are a few view points if you come with a guided tourist tour but I just don't want to go anywhere where I'm not allowed to go with vehicles and destroy nature.

So this was a nice gravel road. (lively music) The Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve has an area of 4,500 square kilometers or 1,700 square miles and has no permanent population. And in the end, I was indeed happy that we didn't continue our ride because it is one of the last refuges for wild Arabian leopards.

Data suggests that around 20 Arabian leopards are left in the reserve and I really would not have liked to disturb these rare animals with my motorcycle noise. - Back here in the beginning of the gravel road and even though we were on top of this mountain plateau now, the whole time we didn't enjoy the views yet but I think that is about to come now. - So we rode to the top of this absolutely stunning mountain pass and there's basically no other people besides us. So you have all the roads and basically, all the area completely to yourself and it's absolutely stunning but very windy. Jabal Samhan is the highest series of three that forms the Dhofar Mountains.

And at this viewpoint, you can experience the mountains nearly dropping down vertically 1,300 meters, and this offers views to the town Mirbat at the ocean and the whole valley to the sea. - It's super windy but look at this view behind me. I'm standing so close to the edge, it's actually a bit scary because it drops down here like crazy. Isn't that cool? Looking at the dry river beds and the valley can give you an outlook on where and how much water covers the region of Dhofar during the monsoon season.

From June to August, the tropical monsoon season starts during which its landscapes are covered with mist and fairy meadows, and changes from brown to completely green. Khareef is what the locals call the monsoon season. Actually, khareef literally means monsoon in Arabic. The monsoon is the reason why Dhofar is filled with papaya, mango and banana plantations all year round. (pensive music) - From the mountains of Dhofar, we now head to the coast of Dhofar and we will see where we end up today. Actually, we might camp again.

(lively music) - Hello, look, these camels, they're not shy at all. Very cute. (tranquil music) - Hello, baby camel.

(Lea clicking) Baby. (tranquil music) (lively music) In Oman, there is a special law for camels. If you get into a road accident with a camel during the day, it is the fault of the driver of the vehicle. If you get into an accident with a camel at night, it is the fault of the camel owner. (lively music) - Now we are coming to a very special place. We stop here.

This is the place of no gravity. (lively music) - Because Oman is so magical, there is a point here that is the point of no gravity because there are two road sides here and you can go up this mountain in neutral. We will try that now and see if it works because both directions pretty much go upwards from here. We are in the middle and we have to try now which is the point of no gravity. (lively music) (motorbike roaring) - Ah, yes, there now! I really found the point of no gravity that made be roll backwards up the hill.

Did I already mention that Oman is pretty magical? In reality, the point of no gravity is just an optical illusion though. You think that the road goes upwards, even though it doesn't. - We're going to the coast now and I can't wait. I actually don't know how this ride will be at all but the only thing that I know so far is that it will be pretty remote because there is no hotels on any Western booking platforms I think for the next 600 kilometers or so.

But we will see. We have a tent. So all good and we are safe.

(tranquil music) (packet rustling) - So now we have a little lunch break with all of Omani delicacies, like Kit Kat or potato chips. (tranquil music) When we started our ride through the mountainous backlands of the coast over its beautiful plateaus, I didn't know yet what an amazing place was just waiting in front of us. (tranquil music) - I mean, you only see the sea every now and then but it's absolutely stunning with these rugged mountains and cliffs here.

(pensive music) And it was about to get even more stunning. All of a sudden, the rocks opened up and we found ourselves on a road right next to the water. (tranquil music) - I'm actually always a bit careful with superlatives like the most beautiful but I have really ridden a lot of ocean drives. In the USA, the Highway 1, or in Australia, the Great Ocean Road. And to be honest, and just realistic, I don't know if I have ever ridden an ocean road as beautiful and as stunning and as remote as this here. I can't get it into my mind how crazy beautiful this is.

(motor roaring) (tranquil music) It was crazy beautiful. But it was as well crazy windy. And the sun slowly started to disappear. (tranquil music) - Wow, really, these views, no words for this but I think the sun is gone soon I don't know if we can camp here to be honest. It is really, really super windy but we will try to reach the next town and see if we can find anything there, food, accommodation or maybe a spot to camp where it's not too windy. (tranquil music) - So we've got a little problem now.

The sun is setting behind the mountain right at this moment, and we didn't reach at all where we wanted to be today. Maybe too many stops here at the beautiful coast. So we're staying now here in this town. There's a little hotel and yeah, it's even not enough time to set the tent anymore because the sun will be gone. We had that in the desert - and then literally, two minutes later, it was pitch black dark.

So we found this hotel now that is supposed to be somewhere here in this little town. And that's where we go. At the petrol station, we were told that there are some rooms for rent in town but couldn't figure out where it is. But then, of course, the hospitable locals immediately spotted our misery, came over and guided us to the place. (lively music) In the end of the day, we got a huge room with a shower and parking right in front of the door.

Our guides to the hotel had recommended us the best restaurant in town and to spoil ourselves after this long day of riding, we decided to spare no expenses and visit the famous place. Yusuf at the gas station. And guys, no joking around when it comes to food.

After we had found the best egg sandwich of Oman in Ubar, close to the Rub'al Khali Desert, Yusuf served us the best grilled chicken of the country. Period. Do you guys want to continue the ride along the cost of Oman with me? If you are ready to be a part of the GOT2GO travel crew, subscribe to my channel and give this video a thumbs up and comment. The next episode will come with more stunning ocean views and with some secret caves.

See you next Thursday. (motorbike roaring)

2022-05-26 14:09

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