Masirah Island is in Central Coastal Oman.
Masirah is an Indian Ocean island off the east coast of Oman and is 95 km long and between 12 and 14 km wide. The population is estimated to be 12,000. It contains an Omani air base, a fish factory, and a few small towns.
The island slowly started to appear on the traveller radar in the 1990s and it holds interest for anyone seeking a real desert island experience. Its deserted beaches and interesting wildlife are the main draws. There is also great potential for watersports here with the winds being especially attractive to kite surfers.
The rugged terrain of the island and surrounding rough coastline has led to the appearance of many wrecked dhows on the beaches of the island, most of them well preserved by the salt water and intense heat.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
The National Ferry Company runs regular vehicle ferries from 1 Shanna'a (or Shannah, tel. +968 2521 6161) on the east coast of the mainland, which take about 1½ hours to arrive in 2 Hilf Port (tel. +968 2550 4884). The ferries are old converted tank landing craft, and run four times daily from 09:00 until 18:00 but only at high tide (the waters are very shallow). Passengers one way: OMR 3/1.50 (adult/child); cars one way: OMR 16/20 (passenger car/4WD)
The east coast beaches are wild and windy whilst those on the west coast are calmer and most suitable for swimming. Dhow wrecks are all around the island and there is a very accessible 250-ton example which was wrecked on the east coast in 1993.
Four species breed on Masirah's beaches, including the largest number of Loggerheads anywhere in the world with at least 30,000 nesting females on the northern beaches. The shallow offshore waters are great for snorkelling, and you will easily come across turtles this way as well as on the beaches at night as they come ashore to lay. Other hatching areas for green turtles are the beaches at Ras al Hadd (close to Sur) and nearby Ras al-Jinz.
Camping is probably still the most common way of experiencing Masirah but there are also a handful of small, new hotels.
- 1 Danat Al-Khaleej Hotel (2km S of the ferry terminal), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Has an onsite restaurant, free wi-fi, laundry service available. RO 23+.
- 2 Masirah Beach Camp, ☏ . Check-in: 10AM-11:30PM, check-out: 1PM-2PM. Has rooms and tents, breakfast buffet and onsite restaurant, free wi-fi. OMR 21+, cash only.
- 3 Masirah Hotel, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Onsite restaurant, free wi-fi. OMR 22+.
- 4 Serabis Hotel (near Hilf Harbour), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Simple two star hotel. OMR 16+.
- 5 Masira Island Resort, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Four star hotel and by far the grandest option on the island. Set up as beach resort with all the facilities you would expect. RO 75-130.
Camping is popular on Masirah Island and there are few restrictions about where. Beaches are naturally the most popular choices.