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Oman: Sur – A Colonial Town, Camel Race and Real Desert

Published: 9.10.2017
Sur is a beautiful town featuring colonial architecture. It is situated by the sea on several spits of land. There are hills, byas and so on. But don't worry. Locals are ready to help you and get you to the right place. There are no street names in Sur so always ask about a concrete place. There are several markets (such as fish market). Moreover, there is a shippyard featuring many ships under constructions. These resemble ships of the Christopher Columbus era and are hand made. To complete such a ship takes several months of work.

You may shop here, visit museums, a lighthouse, explore local colonial architecture, lay around on a beach, or observe turtles. There is a beach about 30 kilometers from Sur. Every year, green sea turtles come here and lay eggs at night. The best place to observe turtles is in Ras al-Jinz reserve. Take in mind that this is a very popular activity, so expect many tourists here.

Sur  the lighthouse, Sur  mosque entrance for women

To see a camel race was one of my greatest desires in Oman. I searched the internet but I didn't find any useful information. When I asked the local, they usually answer there were no races at the moment. Perhaps I would get lucky at some village. However, I continued with my search and eventually received a number of cousin Rashid who would drive me to camel race in the morning. It really was so. Once the sun appeared on the horizon I hopped into the car and swished to see a camel race. Don't expect any stands. Audience follows camels during the race in cars while yelling loudly. There is no rider but a simple dummy. Camel owners yell at camels to prompt them to higher speed. There are no bets placed during a race. The winner usually gets something of value such as money or a car. There is no entrance fee.

camel race

There is a real desert with real sand dunes in Oman. Don't go there alone. You might get lost and it is very easy. Hire a driver if you intend to make a long trip. Beduins still live in desert, they cross it with their herds of goats and camels.


Wadi Shab gorge is a huge attraction. It is one of very few places in Oman with runnig water all year round. Spare several hours for a tour here. You will cross even large boulders so leave your flip-flops at home.

Wadi Shab   Wadi Tiwi

You can reach Wadi Tiwi by making a 15 kilometer trek from Wadi Shab. Alternatively, you can make a 2 kilometer drive. Wadi Tiwi is a beautiful valley with flowing water, palms and no tourists. There is a settlement in the middle of the valley. Here you may see amazing irrigation system. It is an oasis with fruit trees and green. There is an asphalt road crossing the valley. Take plenty of water with you when going to both gorges. There are snack stand by Wadi Shab. There you  can resupply and in the village nearby you can visit one of two restaurants there. If raining, rather avoid the gorges. Stones are slippery and rapid rains usually transform gorges into wild rivers with heavy boulders getting loose.

GPS: 22°49'46.9"N 59°15'07.7"E


Text and photos: Eva Marková

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