Visit to Masirah – Oman’s Largest Island

  A nice view of Hilf Harbour from a hill overlooking the wharf.  Check out the satellite map here!  This fishing boat has been designed to look like an old dhow but has all the modern necessities for life at sea.  I love this photo of a local Omani fisherman on break.  My student, Sulaiman, taking a dip at Hilf seaport.  (A military communication tower overlooking the harbour)  Parts of Masirah Island (the southern half, I believe) are off limits due to the military presence there.  Sulaiman and his uncle, Said, who was kind enough to prepare us a delicious meal called “Kabooly” which is mainly made of chicken and rice.  The tourist map (only in Arabic) of Masirah island which is located just in front of Serabis Hotel.  The island is 95 kms long and 4-16 kms wide with an asphalt road along the coastal border.  Wildlife includes 4 types of turtles that nest on its beaches, deer, wild rabbits and flamingoes.  There were so many crabs along the eastern coast of the island just before sunset.  If we had a bucket, they would have been SO easy to catch…Here‘s a short video of this crab in motion.  Crab in Arabic is “saratan” which can also mean “cancer” as in the disease of the body.  Local island dwellers collecting firewood   Here’s a video of us on a tiny island along Masirah’s eastcoast that we were only able to walk to due to the low tide at the time.  Listen for the clicking or popping sound of crabs walking along the beach rocks.   Sulaiman getting water from the shaikh’s well.  The shaikh is less responsible and ranks under the title of “wali” (like “mayor”?) of the island.  This sign (in Arabic) reads, “Dear natives and tourists, do not swim in this area because of strong water currents.”  ?!  Hello! A sign in English would ne nice! Imagine if some tourist who doesn’t speak Arabic (like myself) comes here without an Arabic speaker.  That could seriously spell D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R!!!  This shipwreck on the east coast is pretty interesting!  Here’s a quick video.  If you are curious to know what sunrise is like on Masirah Island, click here!  This is probably a better video of the rising sun on the eastern coast of Masirah. (especially after the 6:50 mark)  This is a large dallah or ancient Omani coffeepot that is located on the western coast near Serabis Hotel. (“Serabis” is the ancient name of Masirah.)  Another short scene here.  Yours truly in Hilf, Masirah.  One last look back on Masirah Island as the ferry heads for Shannah seaport on the mainland of Oman.  Here’s a short video of the island from the ferry.


15 responses to “Visit to Masirah – Oman’s Largest Island

  1. Andy… many thanks for this update, planning a trip real soon, hotel info & ferry has answered so many questions… this is one area of Oman that I am so looking forward to exploring…
    What made you choose Serabis Hotel over Masirah or Danat Al Khaleej hotels?

    Desert Rose

    • Desert Rose,
      My pleasure! 🙂 I hope your plans come together perfectly. Masirah Island really is a fantastic place to explore and I hope you have a wonderful time there. About the choice of hotels…for me it was simply the fact that Danat Al Khaleej was the cheapest at that time and had it’s own sweet little beach. If I were to go back to Masirah, I would look into staying at the nice new hotel. Someone recently commented that they got a double there for 70 rials so I’d look into that.

  2. hi i actually worked at the raf base in 1972 we dropped a pipeline from saudi arabia to the island the town was so much smaller all 45 gall oild drums were prized by the locals plus wood poverty was rife we also used to go down south to the old whaling stations and a ex raf rescue base the island had american and british bombers and fighters on all freight for the camp came up from the port on alittle little sit on train driven by british royal engineers its nice to see and i hope things have improved for the locals

    • Mr. Swift,
      I was just a sparkle in my father’s eye when you were working at raf base! Thanks for some insight into what life was like back then. I’m sure things have improved tremendously for the locals. Thanks for commenting!

  3. love the color of the fishing nets and the water in Hilf seaport! wow!

  4. Jill,
    And this was with my old camera. Even more beautiful with the naked eye! 🙂 Super wow!

  5. It’s amazing how Hilf has changed over the years. When I was there when the local Omani’s were not allowed permanent dwellings, as above with the reference to the oil drum village! It was July 1968 – October 1969 when I was there and I started a website at
    Hoping to have a return visit in October 2014 with the RAF Masirah and RAF Salalah Association
    Great photographs, thanks for letting us see them.
    David Rose
    Gloucester, UK.

    • Mr Rose,
      Great to hear from someone who was in Hilf as far back as 1968! Wow! All the best putting your website together. Looks pretty good so far! I REALLY enjoyed the historic pics from the original RAF Masirah website! It must be quite exciting as you prepare for the return trip in about a year and a half. If you ever feel up to writing a guest post on the blog about the early RAF days, it would be an honor to have you do a writeup to share some history with us. If so, feel free to email anytime at
      Kind regards!

      • Hello Andy, you might hear more from others as I’ve posted your link on the RAF Masirah and RAF Salalah Association facebook page. By the way, if you were amazed at hearing from someone who was stationed at Masirah in 1968 you’ll be more amazed that we’ve recently had a chap called Dennis Carter. He was stationed there, with the RAF, in 1943! Best wishes for nowDavid

        David J. RoseSupporting:Jet Age Museum, Gloucester – Keeping the history and heritage of the Gloster Aircraft Company alive.Vulcan to the Sky – XH558 The only flying Avro Vulcan in the worldWebsites:RSL1654 Restoration (Malta MCU Launch)RAF Luqa Remembered (Malta)RAF Masirah Remembered (Oman)Stonehouse Dog Training ClubSCRUFFY’S Dog GroomingMiddle East Ex-Pats Flying the Union Flag the CORRECT way up

        Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2013 19:56:31 +0000 To:

  6. Hi Andy,
    I’ve just been introduced to your blog by David Rose. I’m Secretary of the RAF Masirah & RAF Salalah Veterans Association.
    Just writing to request your permission to post some of your Masirah photos on our Facebook page and on our website in a “Masirah Now” album.
    We would, of course, credit the album to you and we would be very grateful to receive your permission to do so.
    Thank you.
    Vic Nugent

    • Mr. Nugent,
      Please feel free to post any or all of my Masirah photos on your facebook page. I’m honored to hear from you and to have my photos on your Association’s page. Kind regards!

  7. Dear Sir,
    I have tried to contact re: Advert in RAFA magazine ‘Airmail’ – it bounced back. Much to relate re: SOAF Salalah & Masirah

  8. Tried to contact chlakelock@ no go

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