St. Francis Xavier Church – Salalah Oman

Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla – the Vatican’s Apostolic Nuncio (diplomat) to Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Qatar (strangely he doesn’t look after Oman) – and Dr. Ahmed Khamis Masood Al Bahri, director in Oman’s Ministry of Religious Endowments and Religious Affairs of Oman inaugurated St. Francis Xavier Church in Salalah, Oman.

St. Francis Xavier in Salalah
Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla , Dr. Ahmed Khamis Masood Al Bahri & Bishop Paul Hinder

The event was celebrated Continue reading “St. Francis Xavier Church – Salalah Oman”

Anantara Salalah April festival at the Mekong restaurant

Transport yourself from Dhofar into Thailand as Anantara Al Baleed Resort Salalah celebrates the Songkran festival at the Mekong restaurant on April 13th.

Songkran festival at the Mekong restaurant.
Songkran festival at the Mekong restaurant.

The Songkran festival is Thailand’s Continue readingAnantara Salalah April festival at the Mekong restaurant

LAND OF FRANKINCENSE is my Guide Book to historic places in Dhofar Oman associated with Frankincense -

THE LAND OF FRANKINCENSE’, MY NEW BOOK, explores key locations associated with Frankincense in Dhofar, including the four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The Land of Frankincense Paperback and eBook
The Land of Frankincense Paperback and eBook

Locations such as Wadi Andhur, Continue readingLAND OF FRANKINCENSE is my Guide Book to historic places in Dhofar Oman associated with Frankincense –

BATTLE OF MIRBAT a key event in the Dhofar war

In the far south of Oman is the location of one of Britain’s Special Air Service’s (SAS) more publicly known battles ‘The Battle of Mirbat’. On 25th October 2018, Prince Harry unveiled a memorial in Nadi, western Fiji, to one of the key participants, the Fijian Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba, of SAS.

View from Jabal Ali - Mirbat - Oman Battle of Mirbat
View from Jabal Ali – Mirbat – Oman

The Popular Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arabian Gulf (PFLOAG) were fighting against Continue readingBATTLE OF MIRBAT a key event in the Dhofar war

Cyclone Mekunu aftermath

Cyclone Mekunu brought what is probably Dhofar’s most intense rainfall ever, which in turn brought some deaths (6 reported and perhaps a few more will be found), caused destroyed roads and spectacular waterfalls.

Cyclone Mekenu 23 May MODIS NASA
Cyclone Mekenu 23 May MODIS NASA

The effect can be seen by the closure announcment, by the National Committee for Civil Defense, of major road links – shown in a diagram issued after Cyclone Mekunu. As the diagram Continue reading “Cyclone Mekunu aftermath”

TAYQ CAVE SINKHOLE in Dhofar Oman

One of the most astounding events during the Cyclone Mekunu in Dhofar Oman has been the complete filling of the vast Tayq Cave sinkhole.

Tayq Cave - sinkhole in its normal state
Tayq Cave - sinkhole in its normal state

This sinkhole is about 3million cubic meters and its now full.
Tayq Cave is in an area of Karst Limestone, whose fractures provide the original ingress to water for the formation of a cave below the surface. Over time the cave enlarges as Limestone can eventually dissolve in water, the reverse happens when Limescale is deposited on water pipes.  Over many hundreds of thousands of years if not more, the roof of the cave collapses giving rise in this case to the enormous Tayq Cave sinkhole 1.25km across.

Tayq Cave - sinkhole fully filled after Cyclone Mekunu
Tayq Cave - sinkhole fully filled after Cyclone Mekunu

Tayq Cave lies where two wadis meet, Wadi Sharaa to the east and Wadi Thirrat and these are the main sources of water into the sinkhole. The base of Tayq Cave contains a ‘drain’ that is believed to empty via the base of Tawi Atayr, also a sinkhole (8.5kms away), into the Arabian Sea at Qashrawb about 12kms east of Khawr Rawi and 16kms from Tayq Cave. The enormous quantity of water that will exit the cave over an extended period should enable geologists to determine the exit point into the sea.

Tayq Cave Sinkhole by Ahmed Al Toqi
Tayq Cave Sinkhole by Ahmed Al Toqi

Updated 1st June - Ahmed Al Toqi has taken an image of the sinkhole a few days after it filled - and it is now completely empty - emptying over about 5days.
The draining system (below centre left in shadow) down to the sea must be exceptionally efficient, or is there a second, even larger chamber under the visible sinkhole?

Teyq Cave as on 1st June by Ahmed Al Toqi
Teyq Cave as on 1st June by Ahmed Al Toqi

 

 

Oman Guide Book by Tony Walsh
Bradt Guide to Oman

My rewrite of the Bradt Guide to Oman includes Tayq Cave – sinkhole on page 308 Tawi Atayr which is the location of the famous eponymous ‘well of birds’ sinkhole from page 307. The guide is available in eBook here and paperback through Amazon worldwide here.

The Land of Frankincense Paperback and eBook
The Land of Frankincense Paperback and eBook

Tayq Cave is located in the region where the Frankincense Tree grows and the trade in its resin developed. Explore The Land of Frankincense with my book which is available as an eBook here, and paperback through Amazon worldwide

SHISR THE LOCATION OF UBAR OMAN

Over 170kms by road north of Salalah is Shisr, an unremarkable settlement on the edge of the Empty Quarter Rub’ Al Khali in southern Oman. It, however, gained fame as the site of Ubar Oman – (the Oman Government prefers the term Wabar which appears to be the name used locally).

Ubar Tower
Ubar Tower

The archaeological re-discovery achieved front pages Continue reading “SHISR THE LOCATION OF UBAR OMAN”

Oman’s Top 5 things to do June

June though its mid-summer is often not as searing as May, that’s often because the rise in humidity also drops the temperature; so Oman’s Top 5 things to do June takes that into account. This year the start of June is part of the month of Ramadhan, and probably the 4-6 June will be Eid, so do take that into account when making plans.
So here are the top 5 things to do in June in Oman.

Bowling at Fun Zone - Muscat Oman’s Top 5 to do June
Bowling at Fun Zone – Muscat

Indoor bowling included in Oman’s Top 5 to do June as its a great activity during Ramadhan as Continue reading “Oman’s Top 5 things to do June”

Travco ‘InterCity’ Hotel in Salalah

Travco, the Egyptian conglomerate which seems to operate under an integrated system looks as if it is focusing on Oman. The company has operated as a low profile tour operated company in Oman for a number of years with much of its business fed in from Dubai.

InterCity artists image
InterCity artists image

As an integrated operator it probably will try to operate in the entire field a client requires and certainly in Egypt as 50% partner in Air Arabia Egypt, various hotel brands Sol Y Mar, Jaz, Nile Cruise ships & ground operator the model worked well, until the down turn in tourism.

The focus in Oman should be a surefooted one, having operated as a tour company in the country since 2006. They intend to open a new ‘InterCity’ Hotel in Salalah. The hotel will be a town based hotel in the main commercial office area which will give it good access to much of the town and region. This will be the first intercity hotel outside Europe, where Travco also own a number of other chains, and suggests that they feel Oman will offer a good alternative to Egypt, as do Orascom who set up Muriya in Oman a few years ago.

Vasco da Gama Esmeralda shipwreck

possibly the oldest wreck ever found from Europe’s initial period of colonization in Asia

The Esmeralda shipwreck is one of the earliest shipwrecks from the start of Portugal’s entry into the Arabia Sea.

There can have been few countries whose population exploded around the world as quickly or indeed violently as the Portuguese. From a small insignificant land on the edge of Europe, they swept into East Asia. Leading the charge in many respects was Vasco de Gama who crossed the Arabian Sea in 1498 with four small ships landing into the Indian port of Calicut. In 1502 he led the 4th Portuguese fleet into the region, this time with the clear intention to subjugate the coastal populations. This was largely to monopolise trade destined for Europe, rather than it flowing through Ottoman and Venetian ships, and in retaliation for military defeats in previous years.

Vicente Sodré
Vicente Sodré

His fleet was of 20 ships, indicative of the value of the potential trade as well as the numbers of ships lost during the previous annual sailings from Portugal that made larger numbers of ships essential to achieve success. Vasco de Gama returned Continue reading “Vasco da Gama Esmeralda shipwreck”

Oman’s famed plants in Dhofar

Within the slopes and valleys of the southern mountains of Oman are an extraordinary variety of flora. The plants in Dhofar inhabit an environment that can change from wet cloud soaked biome to bone-dry desert in the period of a few days or meters. Grass dominates the mountain upper plateau while the sea-facing slopes are have Anogeissus dhofarica as their dominant plant.
Though many plants catch a visitors interest, four are Continue reading “Oman’s famed plants in Dhofar”

Frankincense in Dhofar

Frankincense is such an evocative word for many religious people, but few have a chance to visit the real Frankincense in Dhofar. Its associated with religious ceremonies worldwide and of course with the gifts brought by the 3 Kings, or Continue reading “Frankincense in Dhofar”