Sur and Ras Al Jinz
Whilst wildlife may not be the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of Oman, the coast is actually a vitally important nesting site for turtles. The Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve offers visitors the chance to see turtles laying their eggs in the sand, and hatchlings making their first dash for the water. Nearby Sur is a traditional yet thriving town, with an interesting maritime heritage.
Five of the world’s seven sea turtle species can be found in the waters off the coast of Oman. It is estimated that 20,000 turtles come ashore to lay their eggs on Oman’s beaches each year. Ras Al Jinz is the nesting site for the endangered green turtle, which is one of the largest species. At the part-research centre, part-nature reserve at Ras Al Jinz, visitors can go down to the beach in the evenings and at sunrise to see the turtles either laying or hatching. The highest concentration of laying is usually in the summer months, however it is believed that at least one turtle lands on the beach every evening throughout the year.
Whilst it is possible to visit Sur as part of the journey from Muscat to Ras Al Jinz, or on the way down to Wahiba Sands, those who have more time may wish to spend a night here to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and sea breezes. The town was once renowned for its ship-yards and the boats built here were often regarded as some of the finest in Arabia. Whilst the boat building business is no longer booming, there are still a number of dhow-yards where it is it possible to see these majestic ships being crafted.