If you want to escape the heat and busyness of Muscat, why not enjoy a boat excursion off the coast ?
Dolphin watching, snorkeling, diving, watching sunset or simply enjoying the coastline, there is a lot of choice.
Discover the video and photos some Muscat boat trips you could enjoy...
And when snorkeling in Muscat, you may see turtles!
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Muscat Boat Tours - Options
Choice of Muscat Boat trips
From Muscat you can choose different boat excursions:
- Muscat Dolphin watching - where you may spot a pod of dolphins
- Muscat Snorkeling tour to the Bandar Khayran Reserve - for example you can book this one
- Muscat Dhow cruise - on a traditional Omani boat - for example you can book this one
- Muscat Sunset boat tour to see the sun setting behind the city
- A longer tour to the Daymaniyat islands with beaches and more snorkeling opportunities - for example, look at this one
Video of my tours
Let's start with a short video showing you my experience with the morning dolphin and snorkeling tour and my afternoon sunset tour. Don't miss the moment when I swam with a turtle!
PLANNING TIPS - Muscat Boat Trips
General information on cruises
- Muscat has two main Marinas: the Waves in the North and al Rowdha in the South (see the map in my article Things to do in Muscat)
- Many cruise companies work from Al Rhowda. Offers include dhow boats, semi-submersible boats or small group excursions.
- Al Rhowda has toilets and a restaurant
- From the Waves you can go to the Daymaniyat Islands, considering one of the best diving spots in Oman
Review of Captain Salim Boat Tours
I selected Captain Salim's company myself and paid entirely for both my tours which took place in December 2015.
- Company: Al Sansool
- Boat: I saw 2 of his boats and both were in very good conditions
- Piloting: I went with Captain Salim for both tours and he is an excellent pilot. I felt very safe
- Punctuality: the afternoon we started the tour a bit late which is not so good when you are going to watch sunset, but it was not his fault, a net got stuck in the previous fishing trip. His reviews on Trip Advisor are excellent.
- Price: the morning snorkeling tour was with other people and I paid 20 Rials. For the sunset private tour I think I paid 80 Rials but I am not sure sorry.
- Extra Care: It is difficult to get a cab to come pick your up at the Marina after your tour. Captain Salim took me to Muttrah where his son then drove me back to Al Qurum. Talk about service quality!
Marina Al Rowdha
The marina is very busy in the morning there is a huge company pushing groups onto boats. I was quite happy to have chosen a smaller one.
This is the boat I took for the tour. We can but our bags inside the front benches for protection against water. They take a cooler with water and juice.
Looking for dolphins
For the first part of the tour, we sailed into the ocean searching for dolphins.
There is no guaranteed sighting. After all, they are wild animals.
And sadly we did not find any.
But the views of the coast are splendid.
Rocky Hills of the Muscat Coast
Then we sailed inside the Bandar Khayran Reserve (around 23°31'19.1"N 58°43'30.9"E). The lagoon is between rocky dray hills with sand orange colors. According to the short introduction by Lonely Planet the colors become even more interesting late afternoon.
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Muscat Snorkeling in the Bandar Khayran Reserve
This is where we stopped the boat to snorkel. As you can see in the photos below there were many colorful fishes in those corals. I really enjoyed it as the area is almost enclosed, the water was quiet and swimming was easy.
Snorkeling with a turtle
I was crossing my fingers to spot a turtle and I did! So I followed it. They can swim really fast and I had a hard time keeping up with it. But it was amazing. I had a similar encounter in Petite Terre island in Guadeloupe but did not have a GoPro at the time so no picture. This time I filmed while swimming but the water was not as clear.
It was too fast for me and I said goodbye. Quite a contrast with how slow they are on sand. I really had a lot of time to observe them at the Raz Al Jinz Turtle Reserve.
Rock formations on a Muscat Boat Trip
Tunnel near Al Waha
Once we were done with snorkeling, Captain Salim sprayed us with clean water before getting back onboard and we sailed to the cover near the Shangri-La’s Bandar Al Jissah Resort. I can't find any name for this tunnel but I read on one article it was man made. Not sure.
All I know it that it was a busy spot with Kayats, yachts, speedboats and more. Despite that I enjoyed the scenery.
Qantab Natural Arch
We then sailed back towards the Marina and near Qantab, we admired a natural arch. The coastline around Oman is really stunning. I love the color contrasts.
Where to stay in Oman?
- Muscat - capital city - see best rated accommodations
- Nizwa - to explore the forts and hinterlands - see best rated accommodations
- Sur - for the turtles, beaches, wadis... - see best rated accommodations
- Wahiba Sands - for the experience of sleeping in the desert - see best rated accommodations
- Salalah - the explore the Southern lands - see best rated accommodations
- Khasab - to explore the Musandam Peninsula - see best rated accommodations
Sunset cruise from Muscat
Forts of Muscat from the boat
For the sunset tour, we went towards the North. This way we were able to see the Forts and Al Alam Palace Muscat. It completed nicely the views I had from land the day before.
Sunset over the hills of Muscat was nice even though there were no clouds to create a dramatic effect (it is the Middle East after all...).
In the photo below you can see the giant Incense burner located in Riyam. You can see it with daylight on my post about Hiking in Muscat.
We also spotted fishermen:
The sun finally set:
And after sunset, when we came back towards the marina, we sailed by them again but they were illuminated. Hard to take a good picture on a moving boat but you get the idea:
And we sailed back as the town turn on their lights!
Want to see more of Oman?
- Best Things to do in Oman - read article
- Best of photos from Oman - Landscapes - read article
- Where to stay in Oman - read article
- Best days trips from Muscat - read article
- Planning a road trip in Oman - read article
- Renting a car and Driving in Oman - read article
- Best Things to do in Muscat - read article
- The impressive Wadi Shab - read article
- The Bimmah Sinkhole - read article
- The desert of Wahiba Sands - read article
- The Ras Al Jinz turtle reserves - read article
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