Between wadis, mountains, crystal seas, golden beaches and sandy deserts, Oman provides nature-lovers with a lot to explore. Nevertheless, there’s nothing that turns Oman into a stunning paradise quite like khareef season in Salalah. Here’s everything you need to know about this amazingly natural festival.
Khareef, which means ‘autumn’ in Arabic, is a period of seasonal weather in the southern Dhofar governorate of Oman. It causes the lands to become covered in green, the hills to be surrounded by white fog, and light rain to drizzle almost 24 hours a day. Unlike the extreme hot weather in the rest of Oman from July to September, Dhofar and its famous city Salalah have a cool refreshing weather that attracts visitors from all over the world.
The Ministry of Tourism runs a special ‘Khareef Festival’ and ‘Salalah Tourism Festival’ to celebrate this spectacular season, featuring special traditional performances alongside stalls selling Omani handicrafts and traditional food.
Wadi Darbat is one of the most famous and the most beautiful wadis in Dhofar in southern Oman. During khareef season, it becomes completely covered with green vegetation. It has a big beautiful lake, green mountains that are surrounded with white fog, and amazing waterfalls. Visitors can take an unforgettable boat trip through the lake in Wadi Darbat, or stop off at the many stalls selling fresh fruit around the wadi.
Al Mughsail Beach
Another amazing place to enjoy the natural beauty of Salalah during khareef season is the beach at Al Mughsail. As one of the most spectacular beaches in Salalah, it has a dramatic coastline with crashing waves.
It has also unique blowholes that are scattered across the beach, where sea water rushes strongly forming natural fountains. You will most likely get wet if you stop to check them out, but it is absolutely an unmissable experience.
This place is one of the biggest and most famous local markets in Salalah, where you can buy amazing traditional Omani items such as gold and silver jewelry, handicrafts, Omani clothes, pottery, and frankincense. It is also a great place to get a sense of the Omani culture and heritage. During khareef season, traditional Omani and Dhofari performances take place here.
Try the famous traditional Omani camel meat
One of the most famous dishes in Salalah is camel meshkak, which is kebab made from camel meat. With special Omani seasoning, traditional Omani rice and Omani bread, this is an unmissable mouthwatering dish. There are lots of stalls and restaurants that serve this dish – however, the Sahl Ittin, or Ittin Plain, is the best-known place where there are lots of stalls that serve the dish, along with grilled chicken and beef, rice, bread and salads. It is located near the city center, and visitors can enjoy their meal in the middle of beautiful views and fresh air.
Al Fazayeh Beach
Al Fazayeh Beach is another mind-blowing natural attraction to visit in Salalah. It has amazingly crystal turquoise waters, and a rocky coastline. The drive to the beach goes through splendid green mountains and beautiful natural scenery.
Drink Salalah’s famous coconut juice
Coconut trees are everywhere in Salalah, which makes coconut juice one of the most famous fresh juices in the city, and the most in-demand, especially in khareef season. There are many fresh fruit huts or stalls in Salalah and Dhofar where visitors can stop off to quench their thirst – make sure to try it as you watch the mind-blowing natural attractions of Salalah.