October 2013
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Travel – Muscat – Oman – Part 1

Muscat is the capital of the country of Oman. Additionally, it is also the seat of government and also the biggest city in Muscat.

Overview of Muscat

• As of a census in the year 2010, the population of the Muscat metropolitan region was approx 735,000.
• The metropolitan region of Muscat is not too large, covering an area of about 1,500 sq. km. The region also consists of 6 provinces which are called as wilayats.
• Muscat has been known for many centuries, from the period of the 1st century CE, known as a significant trading port between East and West.
• Over the history of Muscat, control of the city has varied between different sets of rulers – these were sometimes different native tribes and at other times, these were outside powers such as the Portuguese or the Persians, depending on which time frame in the history of Muscat is being seen.
• In the 18th century, Muscat was known as a local army power, and the influence and power of Muscat extended to a larger region such as Africa, to the regions of East Africa and Zanzibar.
• Because Muscat was a major trading city, it also drew in a number of outsiders such as tradesman and had a number of settlers such as the Balochs, the Persians, and Gujaratis.
• In the last 40 or so years since Qaboos bin Said took over as the Sultan of Oman in 1970, there has been a focus on the infrastructural growth of Muscat.
• Overall, the focus on development of the past many years has resulted in the creation of a multi-ethnic society and increased economic growth.
• In terms of geography, the significant geological influence on Muscat is the rocky Western Al Hajar Mountains.
• The location of Muscat is found next to the Straits of Hormuz, and right on the Arabian Sea, along the Gulf of Oman.
• The north-eastern boundary of Muscat forms the port-district of Muttrah, along with the corniche and harbour.
• The primary economic activities of Muscat’s economic system are trade, petroleum as well as due to the presence of the port.

Geography of Muscat

• Muscat is situated in the northeast part of Oman.
• The latitude of the region is such that the Tropic of Cancer goes near the south of the region.
• Some of the boundaries of the region include the western boundary of the plains of the Al Batinah Area with the eastern boundary being the Ash Sharqiyah Area.
• The inner plains of the Ad Dakhiliyah area lie to the south.
• And to round off the boundaries of Muscat, on the northern and western boundaries, you have another large natural boundary, The Gulf of Oman. On the coastline, you have the Western Al Hajar Mountain ranges navigating through the northern region of the coastline of the location.
• There are 2 natural harbours along the coastline of Muscat, since the water is deep. These harbours are called Muttrah and Muscat.
• Volcanic rocks are the natural types of rocks in and around Muscat, because they are comprised of serpentine and diorite advancing along the Gulf of Oman coast for 10 or 12 kilometres from the district of Darsait to Yiti.
• Plutonic rocks make up the hills and mountains of Muscat and thus span about 30 miles (48 km) from Darsait to Ras Jissah.

These types of igneous rocks are comprised of the following types
– Serpentine
– Greenstone
– Basalt

• These rocks are not different from the types of rocks found in the Southeastern parts of the Arabian Peninsula.
• As one moves geologically south of Muscat, there is a change in the volcanic rock strata; it splits up and also becomes distorted, with an increase in elevation reaching an elevation of 6, 000 feet, in Al Dakhiliyah.
• These elevated regions also includes Jebel Akhdar, the country’s highest range.
• These mountain hills to the south of Muscat are barren, with very little vegetation, but are abundant in iron.
• The halophytic sabkha kind of desert vegetation is prominent in Muscat.

Best time to visit / climate

• As you would expect from a region in this area, the weather of Muscat is warm and arid; the summers are very hot and the so called winters are also warm. Summer temperatures can go upto 40°C.
• Rainfall levels in Muscat are low, with the annual rainfall being approx. 10 cm (with this amount happening primarily between December and April). Given a total of 10 cm, many months can go by without any rainfall.
• The humidity levels in summer are high, around 40-60%, rare for this kind of hot temperature.

Location on Google Maps

View Larger Map

How to get there?

1. By plane
• “Fly Dubai” offers four flights every day. They travel from Dubai to Muscat.
Oman Air offers flights to Muscat from:
– Abu Dhabi
– Al Ain
– Amman
– Bahrain
– Bangalore
– Bangkok
– Beirut
– Cairo
– Chennai
– Chittagong
– Dar Es Salaam
– Delhi
– Doha
– Dubai
– Frankfurt
– Hyderabad
– Islamabad
– Jaipur
– Jeddah
– Karachi
– Kathmandu
– Khasab
– Kochi
– Kozhikode
– Kuala Lumpur
– Kuwait
– Lahore
– London Heathrow
– Lucknow
– Male
– Mumbai
– Munich
– Paris
– Ras Al Khaimah
– Riyadh
– Salalah
– Thiruvananthapuram
• Gulf Air operates flights from Bahrain to Muscat.
• Emirates operate seven flights every day from Dubai with a flying time of about an hour.
• Air Arabia operates two flights every day from Sharjah with a flying time of about 55 min.
• Etihad Airways offers three flights every day from Abu Dhabi with a flying time of about an hour.
• Britsh Airways operates flights from London Heathrow to Muscat on a daily basis.
• KLM offers flights from Amsterdam to Muscat. They operate on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The flight time for the journey is about 8hrs 30min.
• Lufthansa operates flights from Frankfurt to Muscat. These operate from Sunday to Friday with a flying time of about 8 hours.
• Royal Jordanian operates from Amman to Muscat. They operate on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
• Egypt air operates flights from Cairo. They operate on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with a flying time of about 4 hours.
• Turkish Airlines offers flights to Muscat from Istanbul per day. There is a stop in Bahrein.

2. By bus
Oman National Transport Company operates buses to Muscat from:
• Dubai (duration 6 hrs)
• Abu Dhabi (via Buraimi)
Within Oman to Muscat from Buraimi there are buses. There are buses to:
– Nizwa -2hrs 20min
– Salalah- 13 hrs
– Sanaw and Sur-4hrs 15 min
Long distance busses reach at the Oman National Transport Company at:
– Ruwi
– Al-Jaame Street

3. By car
• It is possible to get to Muscat by road from the United Arab Emirates.
• The trip will take approximately 5hours by passing the boundary in Hatta/Al Ain.
• It is possible to drive from Al Ghaydah in Yemen.
• The trip is approximately 6 hours through the boundary passing at Sarfeit to Salalah after which another 10 to Muscat.

Some Travel Books on Muscat – Oman

The Rough Guide to Oman Lonely Planet Oman UAE & the Arabian Peninsula Oman – Culture Smart!

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at tripadvisor.com
Hotels at wikitravel.org
Hotels at hotelscombined.com
Hotels at booking.com

Blogs/Sites about Muscat – Oman

blogs at wikitravel.org
blogs at omantourism.gov.om
blogs at wikipedia.org
blogs and reviews at tripadvisor.com

Images and photos about Muscat – Oman

images at wikitravel.org
images at omantourism.gov.om
images at wikipedia.org
images at google.com

Videos about Muscat – Oman

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