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The Khareef Season arrives early in Salalah

( Oman’s southern Dhofar region, some 1,000kms from Muscat is home to the country’s second largest city, Salalah. Each year from the middle of July to the end of August, more than 300,000 visitors come here to celebrate the Khareef Festival. This is the time of the year when visitors can experience the cooler, cloudy, summer climate with refreshing rains, commonly known as the Khareef season, (the summer monsoon). The city of Salalah is packed with visitors from around the GCC who come to experience a wide range of activities centred on the whole family. Traditionally popular with GCC nationals, the Khareef season now also attracts resident expatriates who are looking to explore a distinctly different part of the Arabian Peninsula.

Imagine a part of the Arabian Gulf where visitors can trek through lush green countryside from June to September enjoying temperatures in the mid 30’s Celsius, when the rest of the region is basking in hot dry temperatures in the high 40’s. Imagine a land where the constant cooling summer rains transform the land so much that you would be forgiven for thinking you are in England’s Yorkshire Dales, rather than the arid Arabian Peninsula. – The reality is it’s here in the Dhofar region of Oman.

This year, the summer rains began early and already the countryside is being transformed into a lush green canvas. Michael Bamberg, General Manager, The Hilton Resort said “Salalah really is quite beautiful now. The temperatures are a pleasant 30-32c and there is a cooling ocean breeze. Everyday I talk to guest who have been out into the countryside and up into the mountains and already the views are amazing.” He continued by saying “Up until the 14th July, all hotels and resorts are offering extra special room rates and guests from around the GCC can explore this very different part of the Arabian Gulf, at extra special prices” Visitors to Salalah are advised to book early for the Khareef season as from the middle of July, all hotels and resorts will be very full. It is not advised to arrive in Salalah during the high season without a reservation.

Salalah is home to Frankincense, the signature scent of Oman. What once used to be a more valuable commodity than oil is today, Frankincense is like a fine wine, it can be purchased in many grades, and the best quality is available in the surrounding countryside of Salalah. Today visitors can explore Samhuram, 30 kilometres east of Salalah. This ancient port is known locally as the place where the Queen of Sheba had her palace. In Salalah, the narrow alleys of the Old Souq are the place to buy frankincense. One of the most unique ways to explore the surrounding areas of Salalah and the impressive lush green mountains, is in a 4X4 vehicle. Organised tours are always available and your knowledgeable tour guide will show you how the Frankincense is extracted from trees, as well as the ancient ruins and archaeological sites dating back more than 3,000 years. A drive up the mountains to more than 1,000 metres above sea level will introduce you to scenery like no where else in the Gulf region. Further past the impressive mountains and you enter the empty-quarter, a vast desert landscape, perfect for an awesome desert safari.

Getting to Salalah is easy. Oman Air ( has daily flights either non-stop from Dubai or via Muscat from around the GCC. Jazeera Airways ( is also offering three weekly non-stop flights from Dubai with amazing low fares starting at only AED 99 each way. Other regional carriers will start direct services to Salalah shortly for the Khareef Season.
For great value, pre-season holiday packages, contact Oman Air Holidays. They have five star hotel packages from UAE starting at US$290 per person for three nights at the Hilton Salalah, inclusive of flights. You contact also one of the many hotels and resorts in Salalah. The two five star properties are offering exceptional deals from now until the 14th July. Hilton Salalah ( offers four nights for the price of three, with rates from only US$133 per room per night inclusive of breakfast and taxes. (Minimum stay required) Crowne Plaza Salalah offers daily room rates from only US$ 139 per room per night, inclusive of breakfast and taxes.

For further information on this summer’s great deals and in particular, Salalah’s pre-season summer offers, contact your travel agent, or one of Oman Tourism in Dubai on +971 4 369 2314, +971 50 2977129. Alternatively, e-mail us at

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