With whale-watching being the fastest-growing tourist activity worldwide, you may be keen to catch a glimpse of some for yourself. Here are some of the best destinations to do so.Read more...
Ras Al Jinz - A view from our expert author
You can go just before dawn and watch the eggs hatching and the baby turtles scurrying to the sea before the hungry gulls or crabs have a chance to eat them.
Ras Al Jinz is home to the Turtle Beach Nature Reserve, complete with a hotel. It is staffed by guides who escort you to the nesting beach after dusk to watch the large female turtles come ashore and lay their eggs. The evening tour begins about 21.00, and the guide visits the beach to find a suitable turtle and then summons you over. Alternatively, you can go just before dawn (at about 04.00) – also on a supervised visit – and watch the eggs hatching and the baby turtles scurrying to the sea before the hungry gulls or crabs have a chance to eat them. Many do not make it. This early morning experience can often be more enjoyable than the evening one, as you can avoid the crowds, probably see the last straggling female return to the beach and when your guide says you may, take some photographs.
Ras Al Jinz is a great place to go turtle watching © Tony Walsh
A new research centre has been built by the Ministry of Tourism and there is a museum within the hotel designed to showcase both the turtles and the unique marine ecology of the eastern coast of Ash Sharqiyyah region. The exhibits provide visitors with comprehensive insights into the ecosystems that sustain turtles, charting the complete life-cycle stages of the turtle from hatchling to nesting to migration. In addition, antiquities uncovered during ongoing excavation work in the area are preserved here. Italian and French archaeological teams have worked at a site behind the turtle beach and the mesa overlooking the beach. A mud brick building divided into several elongated chambers was found, together with some burial sites. Items included bitumen from Mesopotamia, ivory from India, Indus Valley (Harappa) pottery and stamp seals, indicating trading links between Oman, the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia some 4,500 years ago.