Category Archives: Masirah Island

Hotel Options on Masirah Island

There are 4 hotels on Masirah Island.  Masirah Hotel, a 2-star hotel, costs 21 rials for a single and 24.5 OR for a double.  Manager: Varghes Emullassery Tel:968-99-266706, 25504401/25504477 Fax: 255044111  www.almajalioman.com/masira.shtml  booking@omantel.net.om  Serabis Hotel, another 2-star hotel, is close to Hilf Harbour and is one of the cheapest at only 16 OR (+tax) for a single room, 22 for a double and 30 for a family suite.  Manager: Saeed Hamad Al-Qarmashy Tel: 99446680 email: dira2008@omantel.om  More here.  Danat Al-Khaleej (Pearl of the Gulf) Hotel is the hotel where I decided to stay.  It is also a 2-star hotel.  16 rials for a single, 20 for a double and 22 for a family room but unlike Serabis Hotel the tax is inclusive in the price here.  Tel: 25504533, 98009332, 99747176 Fax: 25504532 Email: danamas@omantel.net or kamalhossain26@yahoo.com  Here is a picture of the double room I got (as no single rooms were available).  Not bad.  The rooms on the ground floor have their own balcony with a great view of the beach.  Here’s the view:

If you want to really enjoy your stay and don’t mind spending a bit more cash, there is the newly opened (Jan 10,2010) 4-star hotel, Swiss Bel-Hotel, the new pride of Masirah!:  A single room costs 75 OR, 85 for a double and 100 for a suite (+17% tax).  They only have 20 rooms here; 14 standard, 2 suites, 3 chalets and 1 room for handicapped.  Tel: (968)25504274  Fax: (968)25504275  Website: www.swiss-bellhotel.com  Email: masirah@swiss-belhotel.com Swiss-Belhotel Resort Masirah Island is situated on the borders of the breeding grounds of the turtles, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers.  Not the best picture, but the Swiss Belhotel pool is great!

Those are the 4 hotels on Masirah.  I hope that this info helps someone out there thinking of visiting Oman’s largest island.  I really would recommend trying to get there if you live in Oman or plan on staying in Oman for a good length of time.  It is a beautiful, fascinating island that is well worth the long 5 hour drive from Muscat, crazy lineup for a ferry at Shannah seaport and the 1 hour 45 minute ferry ride across 15 kilometres of sea. 

Masirah – Must see, yeah!

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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.

Ferry Ride to Masirah Island

  Looking back at Shannah seaport.  Boy was that water ever gorgeous! And I really love the “milk trail” the ferry leaves behind!  Ahoy! Land ahead!  It takes about an hour for the ferry to reach Masirah.  Seagulls are everywhere at the harbour on Masirah island.  I came to learn that seagull in Arabic is “Nawras“. (Nawras is the internet company that I’m hooked up to.) You learn something new everyday!  Captain Mahoon has been working ships for 18 years!  I love these scenes of Masirah Harbour through the port holes on our ferry.

Shannah Seaport

  Shannah seaport, which has a ferry service between Mahout and Masirah Island, cost the Sultanate of Oman 9.7 million Omani Rials!!!  It was just officially opened up on Friday, February 6th, 2010. (from “Oman Daily Observer“, Sunday, February 7th)  Ferry services are available from 4am until 6pm.  A ferry comes about every hour and a half to 2 hours. When there is a petrol truck being transported, nobody else is allowed on the ferry for safety reasons.  The fact that people do not have any sense of a lineup there and everyone rushes to get their car on board regardless of how long others have been waiting makes it a real gamble as to whether you will get on board or not!!!  Once the ferry is full, small boats offer to take people to Masirah for 2 RO/person.  The problem, of course, is that you would be without your car on the island!  This seems to be an observation tower but it was not completely finished or in use when I was there at the end of January.  My old student, Sulaiman, enjoying the water while we wait for the next ferry.  As you can see, only about 16 cars can get on each ferry.  With all the money invested in this port, I hope they will either increase the number of ferries providing transport to Masirah island, or have some kind of waiting system.  There is nothing worse than waiting 2 hours (like we saw some people on this morning!) only to be denied access to the ferry because some impatient and selfish person who just arrived rushes unto the ferry before you!!! Maddening!

Muscat->Mudaibi->Mahoot->Masirah

  We left for Masirah Island from Muscat at about 5:30am.  It is a 4.5-5 hour drive at a distance of around 460 kms.  This pic is near Ma-ed-en (spelling?) on the way to Masirah.  If you zoom in, you can see a construction crane on the top of that cliff!  Along the highway near Mudaibi, one school (Dhafrat School for Basic Education) put up these Proverbs which I think is pretty neat.  This one reads, “A book is a pupil’s friend“.  Most schools in Oman have colorful, artistic gates like this one (in “Abdullah bin Abubaker school”) in the village of “Maeedan”.  The Arabic above the gate reads, “Show respect to a teacher because a teacher is like a prophet.” (Hey, I LOVE that one!  🙂 )  “Don’t delay today’s work till tomorrow.”  This is known by the locals as “Camel continent/island” as it resembles a camel.  What makes it even more interesting is that there is a camel racing track just behind this “hill”.  “Smiling is a social duty.”  Alright, then… 🙂  “Maeden Mountain” where locals used to be (and are still?!) afraid to approach as it has been known as “the mountain of Jinns” with many scary stories being told about this place.  “Respect yourself and others will respect you.”  Bedu walking their camels, which is something that needs to be done daily to get them ready for the next camel race!  Camels in training”  Click here for video  “Cooperation is strength.”  Painting on the outer wall of school in the village of Hij  “Work hard and you will harvest what you sow.”  Another painting at the school in Hij  “Respecting the environment is everyone’s responsibility.”  A spooky looking tree in the middle of nowhere by itself.  Sulaiman called this tree, “The Devil’s Hand Tree“.  “The teacher is like a second father.” (Again, I gotta agree with this one!  :-))  Another look at the “Devil’s Hand Tree” (1 km from the A’Seel turn off)  “If my home is clean, my school is clean.”  Madar Mountain (wrinkled mountain that looks like a raisin!) “al Madar” is the Arabic word for a special kind of mud which most of the forts in Oman are made of! (Those who lived in mud-brick houses were called “ahi al-madar” or “settlers”, whereas those who lived in tents of camels hair were knows as “ahl al-wabar“, or “wanders”.)  “Camel Beauty without shyness is like a flower without fruit.” (“Camel” in Arabic, “Gamel“, sounds a lot like the word for “Beauty“, “Jamel“)  The person painting the sign made a funny slip up in Arabic making the proverb hard to read at first! (So I was told.)  A beautiful camel (“Jamel Gamel”) in the desert  “The hand of God is with those who cooperate.”  Goats adding charm to the landscape  “Work together for a clean school.”  I had no idea that the harbour where we needed to catch the ferry to Masirah island was even called Shannah!  Another good reason to travel with a local!  These are the salt flats that I wrote about in more detail in a previous post, just a stone’s throw from Shannah Harbour.  Shannah Harbour is the best way to get to Masirah Island.  The ferries carry about 16 cars each trip to the island which is 15 kms off the coast of Oman.