One of my favourite places that I have traveled to (so far) is Salalah. It’s a coastal city in the hidden gem of Oman. The entire year Salalah is a desert; dried out land, little vegetation, and hot enough to cook eggs off the roof top of a car, but during the khareef, Salalah transforms into a land of lush green hills, waterfalls, and animals roaming grass fields.
The khareef is also known as monsoon season, and usually runs from late June until September. Besides the lush green hills, you can also expect to experience continuous light rains, ‘cooler’ temperatures of around 28 degrees Celsius, and the most inviting and warm people you will ever meet in your lifetime.
It took a bit longer than anticipated to drive along the coast of Salalah. It wasn’t because of traffic or multiple pit stops – it was because of the animals. Every couple of hours, we would be stopped by a herd of cows or camels. Coming from Toronto, this was unusual for me. There is nothing you can do to move the animals across the road quicker (that is safe anyway), so I couldn’t help but think of the famous Heinz ketchup slogan, “It only comes out when it’s ready”. These animals would only move when they were ready.
Salalah also has the most beautiful caves to explore. The water in the caves that I visited was a unique lightened royal blue, a colour which I have never seen before. The caves were surrounded by green vines hanging from trees and large chunks of tanned hard rock. The caves were so untouched, I felt as if I would go down in history for discovering new land.
Salalah is filled with friendly and helpful people. It’s completely safe and although English isn’t the first language of the people who live there, they will find a way to help you. They probably will give you food as well (most likely dates).
If you are planning a trip to the Middle East, visiting Salalah during the khareef is a must. Since this is a popular season to visit, plan ahead to avoid the high prices.