Salalah has been invaded. I am not kidding. Ramadhan was quiet in this town and suddenly on the second day of Eid (for some odd reason), thousands of tourists from the UAE, Qatar, Saudi and the North of Oman decided to drive to Salalah for a holiday to enjoy the rainy weather.
Tourists are good, but this is just insane. It took me ONE AND A HALF HOURS to drive from Dahariz to Centrepoint. The traffic was backed up all the way to Saada and we were 'inching'. If anyone is concerned about the state of my right foot after keeping it on the brakes for 90 minutes, thank you.
UAE tourists are even worse drivers than Omani drivers because they're not used to the fact that Salalah doesn't really have a proper highway and speeding in the rain doesn't really work! The number of horrible accidents I've seen in the past five days is just frightening. Police are controlling traffic going into the mountains and other major areas. UAE license plates are everywhere. This isn't even taking into account all the Omanis who've driven down from the North.
The photo above shows what the road into the mountians looks like these days! ROP have been brought in to control the traffic (even in the mountains!)
The weather is cool and beautiful. It was raining all morning today. The beach road along the Corniche in Al Haffa is broken at the Husn end because of the monsoon waves.
Salalah is out of rented cars, accomodation (people are renting out their living rooms to homeless tourists). And as for the commodities crisis, Salalah is out of milk, bread, barbecue equipment, coconuts and petrol (and was out of petrol at Haima). Rumor has it that 700 cars were stuck in Haima on the second day of Eid because the petrol stations were empty along the Muscat-Salalah route. For a photo of the amusing petrol lineup:
The UAE invasion is so hilarious that many Emirati cars have "We're Not Leaving" painted across their back windows.
Advice to anyone living in Salalah over the next two weeks? STAY HOME. And if you're thinking of coming to Salalah in the next couple of weeks, I advise you to re-think unless you're a fan of traffic and chaos. And for heaven's sake, book your car and accomodation in advance.
Wow. My friend sent me a text saying Salalah was "crowded." I had no idea, as I'm still away for the holiday. That's hilarious; now I understand this sudden enthusiasm for checking on my house.ReplyDelete
dear dhofari gucci, great article! we've been in salalah during ramadan, and we enjoyed it very much to be all alone in the wadis. but now we'd like to add some more tourists to the crowd, as we're organizing a ladie's - only - trip to salalah mid of september. they're 7 germans plus female guide from austria. I wonder, if you have some ideas for us? anything they could explore especially interesting for them? would be very pleased! regards, juliettaReplyDelete
Salalah is too crowded these days >.< Please leave us soon and come back later -_- I'm missing the Khareef because of the touristsReplyDelete
Dhofari Gucci, you should send these pictures and your article to the press or Ministry of Tourism. While the effort to boast tourism is commendable, a lot needs to be put into consideration. It is more than Hotels and rented cars. If tourism is a pillar of growth for the Dhofar region, a proper master planning for the region needs to be done. Roads, infrastructures, airport and also public awareness and educations. I visited Salalah a few times, while people are friendly, warm and I really appreciate the frank and openness of Dhofari, however, there can be improvements in some areas. For example, in the airport, people are cutting queues and it was an utter chaos. As a foreigner, this is not a good impression. It is about both Hardware and software.ReplyDelete
I believe a number of road works/ improvements are in the pipeline as well as the new airport which is being constructedDelete
I would also add protection of heritage sites to the list. I have worked in Dhofar for the last 10 years, carrying out archaeological research up on the Nejd plateau. This is one of the richest prehistoric zones in the world and should be considered in future development plans.Delete
The situation in Salalah is unbelievable these days. I have NEVER seen Salalah so crowded in my entire 32 years here.ReplyDelete
How is the situation in Salalah now? As I plan to visit Salalah on 1st of September with my family.ReplyDelete
Great to see Salalah Crowded... my favorite spot where i worked for long time....ReplyDelete
I also planned to visit salalh in this holiday but changed mind last minute..
the newspaper reports in EID days from Dhofar region was very much heartbreaking... loosing more than 15 people life, more than 5 small childrens in that...
Am happy to see Salalh crowded but people who are coming to salalh should know how danger the roads are.. MY opinion is to ROP want to set a check point before Hima instead of keeping chk point in THumrit. The worst and dangerous road we are having it from Hima to thumrit, other nationalities ar coming with 4X4 vehicle's and speeding more than 170Km/hr ... actually this is making the trouble. SO if ROP post is there and can give proper guide than we can reduce the number of road accidents...
AM hoping Salalah will grow to most beautiful tourist spot in the world in coming years.. and number of visitors will hit 1 million in coming years...
I love Salalah so much and especially miss this season along with the Khaleeji Crowd. Salalh I love u, u are so dear to me. Insha ALLAH if ALLAH the Almightly permitted and willed, I will definitely drive to Salalah next year and enjoy khareef thereReplyDelete
I miss that road leading into the mountains so much. this photo of the jam packed road brings back all the childhood memories.ReplyDelete
Only I know how dearly I love Salalah and Dhofar and the dhofari sound of Gii instead of jiii. we used to say giiib instead of jiib and so on.
This is almost comically scary! Brilliant scenes...though I'm glad I wasn't there to witness it myself.ReplyDelete
I second the heritage management planning. Part of Oman's attraction is the relatively concentrated rich archaeological and historical heritage within a few hours drive (or right along) its impressive coastline. These sites, whether flint scatters, tombs, monuments, or abandoned villages, desperately need protection and interpretation, starting with good jobs for Dhufari guides educated in the schools and on school trips about the antiquities in their backyardsReplyDelete
Oman, or Dhofar, needs to issue short term visas to cope with the Khareef onslaught of Khaleejis. Penalty points should be issued for: speeding, dangerous driving, acts of aggression, sexual molestation, vandalism and littering. Arrogance may be harder to legislate on. Over a certain accumulation of points, future entry should be banned. For this to work, the roads need to be fully monitored. Emiratis in particular drive with only murder on their minds. There again, let's ban them altogether. What do we actualy want? Their money? Or our beautiful land back? For sure, we don't want them for their manners, their driving or their charmsReplyDelete
Hear! Hear! Could not have put it betterDelete