Still an off-the-beaten-path destination, Oman is attracting more and more scuba divers who know the secret of its macro-friendly Daymaniyat Islands and Musandam Peninsula.
Oman may be a country on the Arabian Peninsula, but its two major scuba diving areas aren’t connected. The Daymaniyat Islands lie 62 miles (100 kilometres) northwest of Muscat, and the Musandam Peninsula is technically a part of Oman but is surrounded by the UAE. Both of these areas are only accessible by liveaboard diving boat. A typical dive safari in Oman lasts 6 to 10 nights.
Diviac offers 4 liveaboards in Oman for online booking. Three of these are a part of the Almarsa Musandam Fleet. From the Red Dhow and the Brown Dhow to the Queen of Musandam, there is a boat in this locally owned and operated fleet for every need or budget. On the other hand, the Oman Aggressor, which will make its debut in 2017, carries the trusted Aggressor name and offers itineraries in both the Daymaniyat Islands and the Musandam Peninsula.
Liveaboard diving in Oman revolves around two destinations: the Musandam Peninsula and the Daymaniyat Islands. Both are highly protected environments with colorful reefs and a chance to see large marine life.
The Musandam Peninsula is a small part of Oman that does not touch the rest of the country. Instead, the mountainous peninsula is surrounded by the UAE and virtually unpopulated save a few small villages found along the coast. Here divers from around the world relish the opportunity to dive on gorgeous reefs full of fantastic species of marine life, including everything from colorful nudibranchs to the elusive whale shark.
62 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Muscat lies Oman’s only protected marine environment, the Daymaniyat Islands. Only open for half the year, marine species flourish in these waters, and divers will be delighted with the plethora of fish species, including wonderful macro life and the occasional whale shark. Because these islands are only just being discovered by mainstream divers, there’s a chance that you’ll have a new and different experience each time you visit.
Much of the diving in Oman is suitable to beginners with little current and good visibility, making this a great destination for your first liveaboard experience. But do check with your operator regarding specific requirements of certification.
BEST TIME TO GO
October to February
The best time to dive in Oman is from October to February.
Within these months, the balance between above-the-water temperatures and varied marine life makes an extremely pleasant scuba diving environment. You’ll also find warm water averaging about 83°F (28 °C) and visibility of about 50 feet (15 meters) due to nutrient blooms. However, with favorable currents, visibility can reach 85 feet (25 meters). During these months, you’ll also have the best chance at spotting a whale shark throughout Omani waters.
On the other hand, if you are a sea turtle lover, you may wish to visit Oman between March and June. At this time, hawksbill turtles arrive to the area in order to nest.
In addition to the above, it’s important to note that the Daymaniyat Islands are closed annually from May to October. For this reason, we don’t recommend visiting in the warmer, summer months.
Although the Oman diving season can be split into two seasons, scuba diving in the Musandam Peninsula is fantastic year-round, and you’re sure to have a memorable liveaboard vacation whenever you visit.
Your route to Oman is likely to differ depending on your liveaboard destination. If you choose to dive the Daymaniyat Islands, you’ll first need to fly into Seeb International Airport in Muscat. From there, you’ll use local transportation or a private transfer arranged by your liveaboard operator in order to reach Jebel Sifah Marina where your boat awaits.
If you’re traveling to the Musandam Peninsula, you’ll need to fly into either Dubai International Airport or Ras Al Khaimah International Airport. Most liveaboard operators provide transfers from the airport to Khasab Port from which the dive safaris depart.