The Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA) has announced that visits, camping and all marine sports at the Daymaniyat Islands have been banned until the end of October due to the start of the breeding season for protected birds and turtles.
The series of nine islands north of Muscat are a favourite destination for daytrippers and divers alike, who are drawn to the turquoise waters teeming with marine life, impeccable coral reefs and white sandy beaches.
The islands also come under the protection of Unesco as a safe haven for migratory sea eagles and osprey, and Hawksbill and green turtles, which return to nest every year.
MECA announced the visitor ban earlier this week.
“From May 1 until Ocober end, no visitor will be allowed in Al Daymaniyat natural reserve, as it is the nesting season for birds and turtles,” it said in a statement.
Only two islands, Al Jabal Al Kabeer and Al Joon, will be open for tourists throughout the year.
More than 7,000 people visited the islands last year, according to Sulaiman al Akhazami, the director general of nature conservation at MECA.