As promised in my last post, today I’ll tell you more about Masirah Island in case you live in the UAE (or just visiting the region) and feel like going off the beaten tracks. Masirah is an island off the coast of central Oman where the main activity is fishing. If you are coming from Dubai, through the Mezayad border in Al Ain, it’s about 850km away, plus a 1-2 hour ferry ride. The road will take you through desert, mountains (close to Nizwa in Oman) and an incredibly boring 200km long straight road ending in Shanna where the ferry terminal is located. Just before Shanna pay attention to the salt flats on both sides of the road and if you’re lucky you’ll spot quite a few flamingos. We droveÂ at night on this road and nearly collided with hundreds of flamingos flying away at the sight of our headlights.
The ferry is a bit random, but usually starts operating around 5am with the last one leaving well into the evening. The ferry used to only run at high tide, but now, with the new terminal being completed it seems to be running anytime (don’t quote me on that!). It costs 10 Omani Rials per car (100 Dhs) and it usually only leaves when it’s full. Try and get early on it as the last few spots are usually hotly contested by the locals waiting until the last moment so they can put their car in front and get off the ferry as soon as it arrives!
Once on the island, you’ve got two options. One would be to head into the town (turn left when you get off the ferry) and get a room in one of the hotels (there are 2 or 3 at the moment). The one we stayed in (wish I could remember the name) was ok and itÂ was only 20 Omani Rials per room making it a good option if the wind is blowing strong and you don’t feel like sleeping in a collapsed tent. The second option is to turn right when you get off the ferry and take the main road that circles the island.Â In most placesÂ this road goesÂ close to the water and it’s easy to find a beach where you can put your tent up and setup camp for the night. The entire road around the island is about 100kmÂ with theÂ Eastern side of the island being the wilder one.
Food wise, if you’re there for a few days, you can buy some provisions from one of the local shops when you arrive or head into town every evening for a shawarma and a chat with the locals. One thing to keep in mind is that everything is closed in the afternoon between 12 and 4.
The summerÂ (betweenÂ May and September) bringsÂ the Khareef (the tail-end of the Indian monsoon season), which means that wind blows almost everyday 30knots (50km/h) and above and this can make for an unpleasant experience if you are sleeping in a tent. However this is great if you are a surfer, windsurfer or kitesurfer, since the wind is kicking and the sea gets big. Even in the non-windy months you can be unlucky like usÂ and have a whole week with strong winds so be prepared for that. Snorkeling would be one other activity you could do while in Masirah. There are manyÂ reefs within a short swim from the shore where you will be able to see turtles, moray eels and a huge variety of fish. Last week, while freediving there we even heard whales!
As for this shot, it’s an HDR image which I took on the Eastern side of the island from the top of a small hill, overlooking an abandoned fisherman shelter. These shelters can come in handy because there’s plenty of room in there to put your tent up so it’s protected from the wind.
As always, if you’ve got more info about Masirah or if there’s anything more you would like to know head for the comments.