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Oman - Al Ashkharah September 2000

Travel Information

From Dubai it's about 800 km to Al Ashkharah on the east coast of Oman, about 400 km east of Muscat. Road conditions are excellent dual lane highway to Muscat and up to the Sur turnoff after Muscat, single lane after that, all blacktop/tarseal until Al Ashkharah. After Al Ashkharah it's a wide gravel road with bone-rattling corrugations - more tolerable if you get your speed over 80 kph. Deflate your tyres before you drive on the beach! Sand was softer than it appeared to be (well that's my excuse for getting stuck anyway).

There's a place called Ibra (about 150 km from Al Ashkharah) which has a couple of hotels. One is 140 dhs per room per night, has a restaurant, new in 1999, tel+968-471873. See October 2002 trip for more options. This means in theory you could rocket down there on a Wednesday night and do the last couple of hours early Thursday morning giving you most of Thursday and Friday for surfing time. Al Ashkharah has a gas station, a couple of grocery shops, and one small basic hotel that opened in 2001 - again, see October 2002 trip for more information.

Sur has hotels and restaurants - including a Pizza Hut apparently. If you like a bit of comfort, maybe worth considering as a base if you have a few days.

Assuming you can find your way to Muscat, you turn off the highway when you see a sign for Nizwa - just after the Carrefour shopping center. After Bidbid, watch for a sign to Sur and go left at that junction. Follow the road through Ibra to Al Kamil where you turn right to Al Ashkarah (straight ahead goes to Sur and Ras al Hadd where the green turtles surf).

Coming in to Al Ashkharah there's a roundabout, go straight, past the gas station (fill up there - last one before Shipwreck Beach and there's no gas there) and at the next junction take the right fork. Road becomes gravel shortly after. Drive on about 15 km and take the left turn to Al Jafn, 5km (signposted). You'll see a shipwreck eventually and there's the beach! Happy surfing!!

Surfspots

The beach at Al Ashkarah has potential (turn left at the first roundabout, soft sand on the beach) but it didn't look as good as further on.

Between the Al Ashkarah and the Al Jafn shipwreck you can turn off the road and drive onto the beach at many places. All beach breaks, hunt around. No crowds - we were the only two surfing on that stretch of coast. There's a brown hut on the beach about 10km after Al Ashkharah with a reasonable looking sand bank in front of it.

Past the shipwreck beach and through Al Jafn the road disappears but you'll see vehicle tracks in the sand. Veer to the left and you'll see reefs which look like they may have potential for some nice rights. It was too small when we were there - about a foot less than the shipwreck beach (which was only three foot anyway).

If it's too big, you'll probably find more reasonable surf from Ras al Hadd to Sur - there is a road of some sort between the two towns. Expect a two hour drive from Al Ashkarah back to Sur and another hour on to Ras al Hadd. It's possible to drive up the coast from Al Ashkarah to Ras al Hadd.

Rain in Oman??
Car stuck, where's the towtruck?
Drive 800 km to read a surf magazine!
A rising swell - maybe...
       
... maybe not.
Surfers out the back. Or boats?
Big shore dump ... for the crabs
Sunset. Just to be different.

These photos are in the photo gallery .


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