The second-largest city in the Dhofar province, Salalah sits on the south coast of Oman. It’s the traditional residence of the Sultan of Oman, and is known as the perfume capital of the country, perhaps because of the frankincense trees that grow in the lush countryside around it.
Salalah’s climate, with its khareef (monsoon) season means that the area is rich in plants and wildlife, including species more commonly found in Africa, like leopards, hyenas and baobab trees. Plantations of bananas and papayas give the area a really tropical feel, even though it’s surrounded by desert.
Top things to see and do
- Wander around the ruins of Kohr Rori, an ancient fortified port dating from 100 BC.
- Browse through ancient inscriptions and historical stone carvings, and learn about the city’s frankincense traditions in the Salalah Museum.
- Take a quiet moment and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere at the Tomb of Nabi Ayoub, where there’s a small mosque and a garden of flowering trees.
- See waterfalls, caves, lakes and mountains at the Wadi Darbat natural park, around 20 km east of the city. Make sure to visit during khareef to see the countryside at its most green and lively.
- Buy local frankincense and perfumes at the Al-Husn Souk. You’ll also find Omani clothes and textiles on offer.
- Explore the ruins of the ancient city of Zafar at the Al Baleed Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tips for travellers
Enjoy a day out at Marneef Cave, about 40 km from Salalah, where you can watch the surf explode through blowholes in the rock, and collect sea shells on the beach.