As tour operators specializing in diving holidays, it’s integral for us to personally explore and visit our suppliers worldwide. This ensures that we can provide our guests with authentic feedback and firsthand experiences both above and below the water, aiming to tailor the perfect trip for them.
Our recent diving adventure took us beyond the familiar Egyptian, Indonesian, or Maldivian waters, leading us to the enchanting Musandam peninsula in Oman. While this journey marked a new discovery for Jeremy, it served as a rediscovery for me, harking back to a visit almost seven years ago.
The serendipitous introduction to Musandam occurred during a business trip to Abu Dhabi. Extending my stay to indulge in some diving, I instantly fell in love with the place and made numerous return visits until the closure of the Extra Divers diving center. However, staying connected with local friends revealed that Bader had established his own diving center, sparking our interest in a week-long exploration.
Nestled at the tip of the Strait of Hormuz, often referred to as the Norway of the Middle East for its fjords, the Musandam peninsula boasts a dramatic coastline. Situated opposite Iran and part of Oman, it stands separated from the main Oman state by the surrounding UAE.
Approaching the main town, Khasab, the landscape unfolded with majestic cliffs of basalt and sand dramatically meeting the azure sea. Khasab itself seemed to emerge seamlessly from the rocky cliffs. Our stay at the Atana Musandam, a boutique hotel with elegant rooms, two restaurants, a pool, and a spa, provided a comfortable haven. The breakfast spread, featuring a delightful mix of hot and cold options, local and continental fare, along with fresh fruit and coffee, became a delightful start to our days.
While the main restaurant at Atana was popular, we opted to immerse ourselves in the authentic Khasab experience by sampling local restaurants. Armed with insider tips, we explored places like Al Shamalya, offering Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. The menu featured a range of options, with standout items like paneer curry, grilled chicken, and delectable paratha. Exploring the local Uber app, Otaxi, for transport added to our independence, with journeys costing around 1.5 OMR. We also dined at Pakistani and Yemeni restaurants, each offering unique culinary delights.
Khasab doesn’t lack options for necessities, thanks to a massive LuLu supermarket conveniently located across from the hotel. However, one notable absence was alcoholic drinks in Khasab’s restaurants, making it necessary to rely on duty-free allowances if desiring a discreet drink. Respecting local customs and laws, we enjoyed the warmth and hospitality of the Omani and Indian population, immersing ourselves in the food, culture, and lifestyle.
Now, let’s hear from Jeremy about his initial impressions of the underwater wonders in Musandam:
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed diving in Musandam. The ease of diving was impressive, and what stood out to me was the incredible variety, quantity, and diversity of marine life. Nudibranches and pipefish were abundant, and the friendly turtles and enormous batfish made each dive unforgettable. The coral diversity was equally impressive, varying from site to site and with depth. Abu Rashid dives with its lilac soft coral carpet and thrilling drift, along with Pipi Beach, stood out. While we didn’t encounter pelagic species, we did spot eagle rays splashing at the surface from the boat.”
Having dived in the peninsula multiple times before, I noted the unusual calm conditions on this occasion. Better visibility and stronger currents added adrenaline to our dives. May, in particular, boasts an abundance of leopard sharks on the lookout for mates. My past encounters with mola mola, grey and black tip sharks, and the diverse array of rays and lobsters have made Musandam a paradise for underwater enthusiasts.
The dives cater to every level of experience, providing different but equally unforgettable adventures depending on conditions. Our journey to Musandam wasn’t just about exploring the beauty of the underwater world; it was a well-rounded exploration that intertwined with the richness of local culture and cuisine. We are delighted to have Musandam Discovery as a supplier, and their partnership has thrived for over a year now. Sea to Sky has exclusive rights worldwide for groups of six or more, and the feedback from a group of UK divers on our Trustpilot is nothing short of 5-star excellence. Solo travellers have also relished the hospitality of Khasab, particularly from Lauren, Shihab, and Bader. Don’t just take my word for it—go and experience it yourself and revel in the beauty of Musandam Discovery and Khasab.