Once the capital of Dhofar, the town of Mirbat is now known primarily for fishing.
In ancient times Mirbat was the capital of Dhofar, with an income derived from the frankincense trade and from breeding Arabian horses. During the Dhofar Rebellion it was the site of the Battle of Mirbat in 1972. Today the town has a population of 15,000.
Mirbat is 70 km east of Salalah on Highway 49. The drive from Salalah Airport takes about an hour; microbuses from Salalah charge just RO1 for the trip.
- 1 Mirbat Castle. This fortress was besieged during the Battle of Mirbat in 1972, and is under restoration.
- 2 Old houses (near the beach and fort). Mirbat has a number of old merchant houses, built in traditional Yemeni-style mud brick with hand-carved doors and windows.
- 3 Mausoleum of Bin Ali, Bin Ali Rd. Mohammed Bin Ali was a 14th-century local Islamic scholar, and this structure is actually a mosque built over his tomb. Visitors should remove their shoes and be appropriately dressed, and women should cover their hair. A large cemetery surrounds the mosque and tomb.
- 4 Baobab grove, Wadi Hinna (15 km west of Mirbat: from Hwy 49 turn north onto the road to Tawi Atayr). This is the only place in Arabia where you can find baobab trees growing in the wild. Their nearest relatives are found in eastern Africa, and it is unclear if there was once a larger forest here, or if a tree was intentionally planted here at some point. There is a well-worn footpath leading from the car park into the grove, which has some truly enormous specimens. Further on there is a picturesque spring with ferns and fig trees.
- 5 Anti-Gravity Point (Magnetic Point) (on the road to Tawi Atayr, below the baobab trees). This is a well-known gravity hill (magnetic hill), where cars left in neutral will appear to drift uphill in apparent defiance of gravity.
- Extra Divers Mirbat (at the Marriott Resort, in the first chalet on the beach), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 8-9AM, 3-6PM. The excellent coral reefs offshore make Mirbat a good base for diving and snorkelling. This centre organizes guided dive trips and conducts a full range of PADI courses. A sister dive centre is operated out of Salalah. The center is closed during the khareef from the end of May until 1 October.
The beach is beautiful but not good for swimming because of strong underwater currents.
- 1 Al Shara Tourism Restaurant (Shaba Restaurant). Offers a selection of international dishes, with a good sea view.
For diners seeking a more upscale setting, the Marriott Resort [dead link] operates four restaurants, one of them pool-side.
There are excellent beaches for wild camping (no facilities) to the east and west of Mirbat; a 4WD is required to access the best locations.
- 1 [dead link] Salalah Marriott Resort, Mirbat (east of Mirbat), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A 4-star resort. Day-use packages including use of the pool and towels cost RO 10, and snorkel and diving gear can be rented from the on-site dive centre. From RO 64.