A Guide to Muscat’s Parks and Green Spaces

Muscat has some stunning open spaces to explore, including the Bimmah Sinkhole
Muscat has some stunning open spaces to explore, including the Bimmah Sinkhole | © Stephen Coyne / Alamy Stock Photo
Vanessa Gainford

Keen to discover a side of Muscat that doesn’t revolve around souks or the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque? Explore more of the city by visiting its various green spaces.

Parks and green spaces aren’t usually the first destinations that come to mind when visiting a Middle Eastern country, but Oman has a landscape that varies from mountainous terrain and desert sands to flowers, palm trees and the blue waters of the gulf. Explore the lesser-known spaces of Oman’s capital city to connect with nature and discover all that this diverse Arabian country has to offer.

1. Al Ansab Wetland

Natural Feature

Al Ansab Wetlands
© ms / Getty Images

A visit to the Al Ansab Wetland can turn anyone into a birdwatcher; the area is a haven for almost 300 species of birds, along with butterflies, fish and flowers. Situated 11km (7mi) from the centre of Muscat, it’s only a short drive away and can easily be added to an itinerary. Al Ansab Wetland is oddly nestled into a water treatment works, but don’t let that put you off. Oman’s wastewater services company is helping the wetland by implementing guidelines to protect the environment from pollution and reduce carbon emissions.

2. Qurum Natural Park

Natural Feature, Park

Al Qurum Natural Park, Muscat, Oman
© Stefan Cristian Cioata / Getty Images

A nature reserve and public garden, Qurum Natural Park is described locally as the ‘lungs of Muscat’. A popular spot for residents and tourists to explore, this park offers a boating lake, the Sultan Qaboos Rose Garden, fountains and an artificial waterfall. Once the sun sets, the garden is ideal for an evening walk as the lights illuminate the park’s pergolas, 4,500-seat amphitheatre and fountain at the centre of the lake. The park, which opened in 1993, is a short drive from the heart of Muscat, located by the side of the main coastal road that leads down to Qurum Beach.

4. Naseem Garden

Park

Naseem Garden has an array of attractions, including Arabic and Japanese gardens, a children’s playground, a maze and a small train to take families around the park. It’s also home to an aquarium, a lake and a waterfall – peaceful places to unwind. The park often hosts music performances and festivals, so keep an eye out for any upcoming events during your stay. One of the first parks to be built in Oman and 39km (24mi) from Muscat, Naseem Garden is located on the highway that leads to Al-Bāţinah.

5. Hawiyat Najm Park/Bimmah Sinkhole

Natural Feature

Bimmah Sinkhole in Hawaiyat Najm Park, Oman. 2016.
© Nicole Smoot / Alamy Stock Photo

While a sinkhole might not sound like the most obvious attraction to visit on your holiday, the Bimmah Sinkhole at Hawiyat Najm Park is one of Muscat’s hidden treasures. With a limestone landscape that surrounds turquoise waters, it’s a picturesque, must-see attraction. The mix of freshwater and saltwater at Bimmah Sinkhole is much warmer than the nearby ocean, making the location ideal for swimming and snorkelling. Hawiyat Najm Park (Falling Star Park) is a little further afield – about 128km (80mi) from central Muscat – but well worth the trip. Admission is free.

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