Flanked on the east by the Arabian Sea, on the west by the Rub Al Khali – The Empty Quarter – and by Oman’s most southern governorate – Dhofar – to the south, Al Wusta covers a large area in the middle of the Sultanate.
The governorate possesses a long curving coasting and is home to vast sandy beaches stretching for miles. Settlements in this region are generally smaller but this region is a haven for wildlife and nature lovers. Bird watching enthusiasts can spot over 130 different species, including migratory birds from as far away as Europe. The Barr Al Hikman peninsula is especially known for visiting flocks of flamingos.
Further inland, the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary was established to protect the Arabian Oryx, a native breed of antelope that lives in the desert areas of the Arabian Peninsula. Other species that can be found at the sanctuary include Nubian ibex, Arabian wolves and Arabian gazelle.
The Rock Gardens of Duqm and the salt plains of Mahout are just some of the geological areas of interest in Al Wusta. This and a score of untouched beaches make a visit to this region a special experience.
PLACES TO SEE
Birdwatching at Barr Al Hikmann
Located 500km south of Muscat, Barr Al Hikmann is a great location for bird watching, as this is where many species rest on their migration. The waters just off the peninsula are home to abundant sea life and coral reefs, making it a prime spot for fishing and diving.
Al Wusta Wildlife Reserve
Since the global extinction of the species in the wild in 1972, the Arabian Oryx has been reintroduced within a specially designated area in Oman’s Al Wusta region. The Al Wusta Wildlife Reserve is currently the only wild breeding site for the species in Arabia.
The Sugar Dunes of Al Khaluf
Close to the town of Filim, the Sugar Dunes of Al Khaluf truly live up to their name, with a vast expanse of white sand dunes stretching all the way to the coast. A 4WD vehicle is required to explore this area, and it is recommended to use the services of a guide.
Umm Al Samim – Rub Al Khali (The Empty Quarter)
Located on the eastern edge of the Rub Al Khali desert, Umm Al Samim is a stretch of saltmarsh that has been seen by few. The solid-looking crust can be deceiving because beneath lies quicksand, so visitors are better off travelling with a guide.