Whether you make the annual pilgrimage to Salalah every summer for khareef, or are experiencing it this year for the first time, without a doubt it’s one of Oman’s most unique phenomena! Here are some fun facts to help you brush up on your knowledge!
1. While summer temperatures in Oman average 45 degrees Celsius and above, in Salalah during khareef they rarely rise above 27 degrees Celsius.
2. ‘Khareef’ is an Arabic word that loosely translates to ‘autumn’, though it refers to the monsoon as it’s a phenomenon triggered by the rainy season.
3. The highest-ever number of tourists to Salalah for khareef was in 2016, with 652,000 people visiting.
4. Khareef season brought in RO60 million in income on travel and leisure from visitors to the Dhofar region in 2017, accounting for 91.3% of all total revenue.
5. Omanis made up 70.5% of visitors to Salalah last year for khareef, with tourists from other Gulf countries making up another 17.5%.
6. Khareef makes Dhofar one of the most bio-diverse regions in the country, It’s home to ospreys, terns, steppe eagles, and crested honey buzzards to name just a few of its bird species, while the Jabal Samhan Reserve near Salalah is one of the last habitats for Arabian leopards in the wild.
7. During the three months of khareef, around 250 kms of land in the Dhofar region becomes a lush sub-tropical forest.
8. The monsoon that ushers in khareef generally only extends about 18 kms off-shore.
9. The rains and moisture of khareef collect in the mountains and nourish the frankincense trees, making Salalah in particular known as the ‘Perfume Capital of Arabia’. .
10. The level of greenery during khareef season in Salalah often draws comparisons to that of southeast India, earning it the nickname ‘Kerala of the Middle East’.