With its rolling green hills and lush wadis, Khareef season in Oman’s Dhofar province is nothing short of splendid. Drawing tens of thousands of visitors each year who come to revel in a landscape transformed, it’s a time when the desert, quite literally, blooms! Y brings you our guide to making the most of it.
Every year in June, something extraordinary happens in Dhofar: it starts to rain. For those of us braving the summer heat here in Muscat, this is something special.
From watching the rains advance, to soaking in the greenery, Salalah plays the perfect host to Khareef season which begins this week.
Are you planning to visit Salalah? Then here’s everything you need to know about this popular festival season.
Khareef, in Arabic means ‘autumn’. It’s a period of seasonal weather in Dhofar where, while those in Muscat battle the heat, in Salalah the climate becomes chilled. During Khareef, the land will become blanketed in green, the hills will be surrounded by white fog, and it rains almost every day. According to Oman Met, the temperature is expected to go down to 27 degrees. The government runs a special Khareef Festival and Salalah Tourism Festival to celebrate this spectacular season. It features special traditional performances, alongside stalls selling Omani handicrafts and traditional food.
Dhofar has more than 360 natural springs in and around the mountains. The most beautiful and popular of these include: Ayn Arzat, Ayn Sahalnoot, Ayn Hamran, and Ayn Harzeez.
Wadi Darbat is one of the most famous wadis located in Dhofar. It has a big beautiful lake, green mountains surrounded with white fog, and amazing waterfalls. This is a perfect location for photography, and visitors can also take a boat trip through its lake
The spectacular Mughsail beach is located about 40 km west of Salalah. With enormous crashing waves and dark clouds, Mughsail is a perfect place to be during Khareef. Keep an eye out for its unique blowholes that are scattered across the beach, where sea water rushes strongly forming natural geysers – expect to get sprayed!
If you’re on the hunt for traditional Omani items such as gold and silver jewellery, handicrafts, clothes, pottery, or fresh frankincense, then Haffa Souq is the perfect place. Hundreds of visitors come every year to the marketplace during Khareef season for what they call the ‘Salalah shopping’.
Al Balid Archeological Site
Located near Haffa Souq, Al Balid is an archeological site that’s been declared as one of the UNESCO’s unique World Heritage sites in Oman. This museum offers more than what the name suggests, a well-documented but concise history of Oman.
Coconut juice is the most in-demand during Khareef season because coconut trees are found everywhere in Salalah. With many fruit stalls in and around Salalah city, visitors can stop off to quench their thirst at many a roadside stand!
Oman Air and SalamAir fly direct from Muscat to Salalah. Flights cost RO 78 return including taxes.