When I parked my car on Qalhat beach, my latest Destination, my eyes opened wide in wonder, as all I could see infront of me was a vast, untouched expanse of sand, numerous pebbles and turqoise green waters, all married with each under under the shining sun.
Roughly a two-hour drive from Muscat, Qalhat beach is part of Qalhat village, which is one of Oman’s most important ancient cities, serving as an important stop on the wider Indian Ocean network in years gone by. Covering more than 60 acres, the historical city was surrounded by fortified walls, protecting houses and shops from attack. Artefacts from as far as Persia and China have been found at the site.
There isn’t a lot of ancient Qalhat that remains these days, but it was added to the Unesco World Heritage tentative list on July 4, 1988 in the cultural category. Although I tried looking for the ruins, the point of my journey was to explore the phenomenal beach and its immediate surroundings.
The turqoise waters were breathtaking and despite my desire to go and snorkel, I wasn’t able to do so because I didn’t have my gear with me. However, I would recommend any marine life lover or active snorkeller to pay a visit to this treasure trove of a beach and take a dip in the water.
Apart from the beauty of the place itself, the sea brimmed with corals and fish, which is not surprising because most of the coastal area of Sur contains a richness of life beneath the water. Gentle waves lapped the beach, creating the perfect environment for a bit of paddling, as I found out. I’ve heard some say that the water has medicinal properties.
Besides that, the beach is the perfect place to relax on the sand or the pebbles and reflect about life away from the busy city.
While I was at the beach, I spotted two fishermen setting up their boat and nets in preparation to head out in search of the day’s catch, which they would no doubt sell later at a local market.
From one angle, when I was facing the sun, the sea shimmering almost like a sparkling diamond. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to snap this “diamond sea” and managed to capture a couple of shots with two or three flamingos in the scene. Flamingos are a very common spectacle in the area.
While aiming my camera down at the pebbles and rocks, I came across a beautiful white shell, which gave me a brilliant idea. I arranged a rock, the shell, a piece of coral and several pebbles underneath for a cool close up snap, which turned out well and was probably my favoutire shot taken that day.
Thankfully, Qalhat beach is very easy to spot and is easily accessible, meaning that everyone can enjoy it, just as I did. It’s only 10 minutes after Wadi Shab and you can’t miss the sign.
I would say now, during the slightly cooler winter months, is the best time to go and relax. People fond of camping can also visit this quiet and pleasant spot for a great little weekend trip.
From Muscat take Route 17 all the way down past Wadi Shab. About 10 minutes after passing the wadi you will see the exit for Qalhat. The beach is easily located from here.
GPS location of Qalhat: N22º 42’ 1.888” E59º 22’ 12.885”