Dry, scorching and dusty as hell. These are precisely the guileless associations that are awakened in most people in connection with the Sultanate of Oman. But while their thoughts linger on hazy desert scenes and stoically plodding camel caravans, the fabulous world of Omani deep-sea longings unfolds at the back of the colonial terrain. Thanks to the largely undiscovered beauty of the Omani underwater world, you will find breathtaking dive sites off the coast of Arabia that have remained untouched until now.
Give the classically overcrowded ocean diving destinations the cold shoulder and explore the secrets of the Orient below sea level. Immerse yourself in the abstract beauty of a marine biological setting that will take your breath away with organic and inorganic settings, despite the oxygen equipment. But be careful! A unique opportunity to dive once in Oman develops into a lifetime passion in most cases.
The best time for diving in Oman – heterogeneous underwater world with the changeability of a chameleon
Underwater world is not equal to underwater world. Especially not in the Sultanate of Oman. But the depths of the Indian Ocean are not only fish-colored and coral-colored, but show themselves in the course of a year in a constantly new garb.
If you are planning to dive in Oman for the first time, you should consider beforehand what you want to focus on. Is it the stunning fish colonies and bizarre coral constructs or the deep green kelp forests whitewashed by the sun’s spectral light? Absolutely impressive is that in Oman you can experience both at the same dive spot. Just not at the same time, but at different times of the year.
Coral dives in perfection
The winter months (October to May) are perfect for coral diving in Oman. Moreover, during this time the ocean offers you the best opportunities to explore the infinite biodiversity of fish and marine mammals. At no other time will you have better visibility underwater. With a visibility of up to 25 meters, the wonderful expanses of the Omani underwater world stretch out before your diving goggles. Thus, the Omani winter offers you the opportunity to spot a greater number of underwater wonders in just one dive than in the following months. By the way, during this time you will enjoy cozy water temperatures of about 24 to 28 °C. The ocean is then relatively calm, so you can enjoy your diving experience quite relaxed.
The ephemeral fascination of the kelp forests
You want to experience the unique natural spectacle in the Dhofar region during the Omani summer months? A fantastic idea! Because the Khareef monsoon, which is responsible for the fine spray and the resulting explosion of savanna blossoms, has another ace up its sleeve. It brings cool ocean currents that create kelp strands that swirl toward the sunlight on the water’s surface. Due to the multitude of these strands, whole forests of kelp are formed, which as so-called kelp forests are one of the most fascinating experiences during a dive in Oman. They exist from about June to the end of September, then slowly die off and give way to the glassy expanses of the Indian Ocean, reclaiming their territory from October.
Oman is one of the few places in the world where it is possible to have both diving experiences at the same spot in the ranks of the most unforgettable memories of your life. Take advantage of this unique opportunity and immerse yourself in a world that is as contrasting as black and white in the course of the seasons, but on the other hand shines with a fascinating spectrum of colors.
Nursery Oman – Diving in kelp forests to the species-rich roots of being
The giant algae forests exist from a clustered mass of brown algae and prefer the cooler water temperatures during the summer months. You can compare them to submarine thriving rainforests. As one of the most productive ecosystems on earth, they are home to an almost infinite variety of species. While they serve as a food source for fish, the protective function of kelp forests is of paramount importance to them. While numerous species are defenseless against the vastness of the ocean and thus their predators, they find opportunities for camouflage and cover in the fringes of kelp forests. The biomass is thus a perfect place to stimulate the fecundity of underwater creatures and bring the next generations of deep-sea inhabitants into being.
For you, this means that you should design your dive very carefully. Float smoothly through the iridescent light of the sun’s rays as they make their way into the canyons between the ragged tang columns. Dive once in Oman? With the mystical kelp forests an experience you will never forget.
Oman – Diving in the fascinating kaleidoscope of coral reefs
For many divers, there are few things more breathtaking than reef diving around sea anemones, cleaner shrimp, nudibranchs, and banger crabs. In the regions of Muscat, Salalah as well as around the peninsula of Musandam you will find a true paradise for floating into the depths of the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman. Slip on your fins, goggles, weight belt and oxygen and let yourself drift with the promise of the Indian Ocean.
Shaab Ashra in Salalah
At Shaab Ashra Reef in Salalah, you’re in good hands even as a beginner, although you’ll be up against some of the most feared predators in the liquid wilderness. In addition to illustrious frogfish and seemingly harmless table corals, you’ll encounter the pouting mouths of ponderous moray eels, man-shy whitetip reef sharks, and turtles lazily nibbling on stalks of sea grass. You can be sure of a memorable exchange of blows from fin to fin.
Fahlal and the Daymaniyat Nature Reserve
Reef sharks can also be found around Fahlal Island near Muscat. The island has made a name for itself as “Shark Island”, as the “buccaneers” there love to scratch themselves on the reef sandbanks. Glide through colorful coral gardens and swim through the fascinating caves of the limestone island. At the dive spot around the neighboring Daymaniyat Islands Nature Reserve off Barka in Oman, cuttlefish, barracuda and numerous shark species dive with you up close.
The Musandam Peninsula
At the diving spots Lima Rock and Ras Musanda around the peninsula of Musandam you are on your way to a real insider tip. The underwater world here is more lonely and untouched than in any other diving area of Oman and presents you impressive moon fish, clown fish as well as curious species like humpback snapper, leaf fish and short nose doctor. You will also dive along coral-lined drop-offs and in a unique fjord landscape. With these two spots you treat yourself to real jewels, because unforgettable moments await you in the midst of colonies of orcas and dolphins. A diving experience that will certainly be one of the most beautiful of your life!
Wreck diving in Oman – melancholic underwater symphonies in the bittersweet scenery of the seabed
Even though a dive is exciting enough in itself, sometimes you may want to feel an extra dose of adrenaline in your veins. Dives to shipwrecks are not for the faint of heart, but an underwater walk with goose bumps guaranteed. Off the coast of Oman, ships once sank to the bottom of the sea, which today are dramatic and gloomy settings for dives of a special kind.
Just not far from Salalah in the Dhofar region, Mirbat presents itself as one of the hottest spots for wreck diving in Oman. Dive through the steel skeletons of the “Chinese Wreck” and “Marriott Wreck”. In the billowing atmosphere of the microorganisms, they look like silhouettes and, as artificial reefs, form an eerily beautiful backdrop for unique diving adventures. Shoals of fish in the colors of the rainbow stand in such vast proportions among the mortal remains of the perished cultures that you sometimes have to lend a hand and push them aside to penetrate to the depths of the chasms of steel. Watch turtles and rays glide majestically through the open water and say “Hello!” to curious moray eels before they lazily disappear back into their sandy pit on the rocky seabed.
Exclusive: City of Winchester
A real highlight awaits you if you decide to dive with the “Oman Explorer” of the ship owner Extra Divers. It is the only vessel authorized to dive the remains of the “City of Winchester” as part of a liveaboard. Near Mirbat in the immediate vicinity of the Hallaniyat Islands lies the first warship that fell victim to the fighting of the First World War. Encounter the resident population of giant humpback whales and breathe pure world history alongside oxygen!
If you are more in the northeastern part of the Sultanate, off the coast of Muscat the shipwreck of the “Al Munassir” exudes the spirit and charm of the Royal Navy of the Sultanate of Oman. The wreck lies at a depth of about 30 meters, but has a significant slope. The highest point is thus only about 6 m below sea level. An impressive skeleton of seafaring history with depth. Watch yellow-striped snapper, mackerel, fusiliers and striped barbels perform their graceful dances in the plankton-rich waters of the wreck area. A truly magical place, to which a little life is breathed again by the spherical drifting existences.
Oman – Diving for the protection of species
In order to preserve the unique beauty of the Omani deep sea for every diver in the long run, the diving certification protects the areas from uncontrolled diving en masse. The brevet is a diving certificate that is issued to you by diving organizations such as PADI or SSI. It is internationally valid and entitles you to dive at the dive sites in Oman. If you don’t have such a diving license yet, the diving centers in Oman offer a wide range of diving courses. So you can get your diving badge already within a few days. Note that at some dive destinations like “Shark Island” you need a separate dive permit!
You’ve got all the necessary documents together and are already pawing impatiently with your fin? Then let’s go! Dive into one of the most fascinating adventures of your life and the deep blue ink of Omani deep sea dreams.