Smear on the sunscreen and dig out the bucket and spade. It’s time for a sandy getaway with some picturesque perks, says Jerzy Wierzbicki
I first heard of Al Fazayah Beach many years ago when I first came to Oman. At that time, Dhofar seemed very far away and almost impossible to get to by car. But every year, my friends who made the trip down there always told me how amazed they were by the region’s beauty – especially when confronted by the mystical 5km of Al Fazayah Beach.
Of course, I did eventually make it (otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this piece). But like most people, I went during the Khareef season and never really got the chance to visit Al Fazayah because the waves were so wild.
In winter, however, the conditions are better, making it the ideal time to explore the rocky shoreline and the white beaches. So, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to make my fifth trip to the region with my German friends, Ute and Andreas, who were visiting Oman to specifically explore the deserts of Dhofar.
We made the slow two-day journey to Salalah through the interiors of Oman and spent one night near the Muqshin oasis. When we finally reached the main city, we made a quick stop at a local restaurant and enjoyed some delicious biryani. It was a great way to fuel up, especially after the long, tiring journey from Muscat. Since the weather was great and the beaches looked calm, we decided to visit the magical Al Fazayah on our first night in Salalah.
The beach wasn’t as near as we expected. It was another hour-long drive until we hit a gravel track leading to this almost mythical place. But boy, the first glimpse of Al Fazayah made a fantastic impression, especially with the sunset in the background. Many mushroom shaped rocks littered the shallow waters so we couldn’t resist the urge to get snap happy with our cameras.
We moved up the gravel track to a small, white sandy beach. Both the weather and location were perfect for a night’s camping – but not before soaking in the cool, salty water. After the day to night journey through sandy desert, it felt amazing.
The dusky sky just before sunset was perfect so the photographer in me took over; I grabbed my wide-angle lens and climbed onto the rocks to capture some amazing photos. As the sun went down, the sky turned an exquisite turquoise blue giving me another opportunity to experience the beauty of Oman as I sat on the rocks, my trusty dog by my side. I was there for about fifteen minutes before heading back to start a campfire for dinner.
We woke early in the morning. While Ute and Andreas decided to jump into the sea. I made some much-needed breakfast with strong coffee, bread and tahini after which we set off to explore other parts of the coastline. As we advanced into a valley, it was impossible not be mesmerised by this natural phenomenon. When we reached the end of the track, we were on high cliffs that towered over the sea. It made for one of the most spectacular views I’ve ever encountered in Oman.
The rocks were quite unique. And an attentive observer could see that the shape and size of the rocks differ from those seen in the northern regions. They were smoother, a result of increased erosion during the Khareef when water pours over the landscape as a result of the rains.
All in all, Al Fazayah Beach is one of the ‘must-see’ places in the Sultanate. It’s best visited during the mild, winter months when you can seize the opportunity to camp in pleasant temperatures and explore the white sandy beaches at leisure.
The total distance to Al Fazayah from Muscat is 1100 kms. Head to Salalah through the interior. Take Road 47, which will direct you towards the Yemeni Border. When you reach a place called Mughsayl you can refuel at the small service station there. From Mughsayl, head west. A small sign marks the exit to Al Fazayah Beach.
The last 4 kms are the most difficult as the roads wind and descend steeply to the sea. It’s advisable to put the car into a low gear and go slowly. Normally a 4×4 is not necessary to reach the beach but the last few kilometres might require a sturdy vehicle to avoid any issues associated with the rougher terrain.
The GPS location for Al Fazayah Beach: 16°51’7.79”N 53°43’3.10”E