The Sultanate of Oman, with an area of 309,500 square kms, encompasses a diverse range of topography, including mountain ranges, arid deserts and fertile plains. Oman lies on the Tropic of Cancer in the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula.
The country’s breathtaking coastline stretches for over 1,700 kms, from the Arabian Sea and the entrance to the Indian Ocean at its south-western extremity, to the Gulf of Oman and Musandam in the north, where it overlooks the Strait of Hormuz and the entrance to the Arabian Gulf; a location that has played a vital part in Oman’s strategic development.
The Hajar mountain range, which the Omanis compare to a human backbone, forms a great arc extending from the north-west of the country towards the south-east. Their highest peak, Jabal Shams, in the Jabal al Akhdhar area of the Dakhiliyah region, reaches an altitude of 3,000 metres. In Musandam, where the Strait of Hormuz lies between the Omani and Iranian coasts, the mountains soar to a height of 1,800 metres above sea level.
It shares borders with the Republic of Yemen to the southwest, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the west and the United Arab Emirates to the north and can lay claim to a number of small islands in the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz, including those known as “Salamah and Her Daughters”, and in the Arabian Sea, Masirah and the Hallaniyat islands.
The country’s climate, like its topography is diverse, with humid coastal areas and a hot, dry desert interior. Although rainfall is generally light and irregular, Dhofar province in the south catches the Indian Ocean monsoon that falls between June and September. In the interior summer temperatures can soar to 130 degrees F (54 degrees C). Most tourists visit during the more temperate months between October and April, with visitors from the GCC countries preferring the months of July and August when the monsoon season comes to the Dhofar region.