Story Gautam Viswanathan
Located 500 km south of Muscat, and accessible only by ferry, Masirah Island promises travellers plenty of tranquillity and natural wonders.
Promising a great weekend outdoors, this 95-km long, roughly 14-km wide island with rocky inclines and sandy beaches off the coast of the South Sharqiyah governorate is known for kite-surfing and bird-watching.
Ferries from Shannah on the mainland that connect passengers to Masirah Island run at regular intervals, beginning on the weekends at 9 am, and then running every three hours, with the exception of the last one, which operates at 5 pm. Although there are signs that point the way towards Shannah, it is also advisable to plot the route through your GPS system.
While at Masirah, head to the shops and do visit the water treatment plant, which is the best place to watch migratory birds. This is a great area to watch birds such as European ducks and bright pink flamingos, beyond which lies the bright blue azure of the sea. Masirah is also one of the hotspots for turtle conservation in the Sultanate, in addition to being a location frequented by fishermen.
While you’re there, do try to take part in some kite-surfing sessions, a whale-watching excursion, or some snorkelling adventures.
“Oman’s largest island,” says the country’s Ministry of Tourism, “can only be reached by ferry from Shannah and is a bird watcher’s paradise as well as an important hatching site for a vast number of migrating sea turtles. It is also a great place to enjoy fishing, as well as many water sports such as kite-surfing and sailing due to the winds close to the shore.”