Tucked away under the shade of my breakfast source, Lulu in Darsait, I saw this well travelled car. Well travelled not just from Salalah, where I photoed it last week, to Muscat – but after 6 years on the road it has the most kilometres of any non production car.
As the Monsoon Season draws to a close in Salalah it will soon be time to start the Frankincense Harvest.
A crew for the BBC filmed in Oman a piece about the Frankincense Trail in June last year. From Oman they went to The Hadramout and beyond, mixing fable, modernity and a bit of history as seen through Kate Humble’s eyes.
Apart from the fact that Frankincense is a living legend – the thing I really like about the tree is the culture that surrounds it.
The smoke from the small pebble size pieces is used in Oman as a welcome to guests and the fragrance will scent clothes for a long time .
Grabbing a couple of bottles of water, we set off at a good walking pace under the cloud cover of the early Khareef (Monsoon) season in Salalah Oman .
I enjoy trekking in Oman with Hadi al Hikmani, enthusiasm is always a good companion and Hadi packages his in friendliness and knowledge. On this walk, his knowledge identified fresh ‘scat’ (excrement) on our pathway – in fact Leopard scat . Fresh, in fact, very fresh – probably less than half an hour old. In the day that followed, we walked along Leopard tracks and with all our stops and starts, examining the tracks and collecting scat we didn’t catch up with our invisible walking companion.
We returned along the same path and astoundingly found more scat; the Leopard had returned to the path after we passed .
Over a year before, on another walk with Hadi, I said to him that I would write about Oman’s Leopards; as he believes that awareness is a key to its survival. So, shamed that no article had been produced in over a year, I returned to Muscat and somehow produced a piece. Wonderfully ‘ Oman Today ’ has used it in their August edition – I’m delighted of course.
Oman is a key territory of Panthera pardus nimr, the Arabian Leopard, and, with possibly less than 200 individuals in the world, awareness may well help its survival.
The advancing monsoon was descending on Salalah as I spent time there with Hadi Al Hikmani whose passion and work is researching Arabian Leopard in Dhofar. His family keep an extraordinary number of goats below the mountains and they are a potential prey of the Leopard.