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See the Surf Masirah Island Oman page for more up to date information. This page is the original version and left here for reference only.

Oman - Masirah Island September 2000 trip - travel information

See Masirah Island page for maps.

From Dubai it's about 800 km to Sana/Shanna on the east coast of Oman from where you catch the ferry to Masirah Island. Road conditions are excellent blacktop/tarseal to a place called Filim - about 50 km from Sana. The last stretch is gravel but easy to keep your speed up. The road after Nizwa is not marked at all on the Oman map I have because it's new. Straight and fast.

At Sana you catch a ferry to the island. There's a few going back and forth depending on the tides - you can count on a possible departure on the mainland about 2-3 hours either side of high tide. Cost is 150 dhs per vehicle each way - passengers included in that. Ferry takes about one and a half hours and once on the island you're about a twenty minute drive from Surf Beach on the east coast. There is apparently a new hotel (April 2001) just been built where the ferries depart from the mainland at Sana but so far it doesn't seem to be open yet. There's also a hotel on the island as well as a basic restaurant (did you want chicken or mutton with your rice?) and grocery shops.

On Masirah Island there are a couple of ferry departure points and competing companies so if you miss the boat in one spot, try another.

Route

From Dubai you have two options. Cross the border at Buraimi and take the inland route to Nizwa. From Nizwa head towards Izki and then Al Musalla which is where the new road takes you down to Filim and Sana.

Alternatively cross at Al Wajaja and take the coastal route towards Muscat but turn off at the airport or just after to go towards Nizwa. From that highway take the Sur turnoff to the left and further down that road look for a turn to the right to Al Mudaibi and/or Al Musalla. Continue as above.

Another route which we travelled in January 2001 is along the coast from Al Ashkarah. The route involves gravel roads, driving on the beach and along sand tracks with one section of fairly serious dune driving - similar to the Liwa if you've been there. It's where the Wahiba sands meets the coast. The route is documented in the Off-road Guide to Oman and I wouldn't recommend it unless you're with several vehicles and know how to drive in the desert. You are very isolated if you have problems and the sand is extremely soft.

By the way, just before the Nizwa turnoff at the clocktower roundabout, there's a new Muscat City Center complex - similar kind of thing to Deira City Center. Handy place to stop get a feed and buy at Carrefour what you forgot to bring. About 500 m after the turnoff at the clocktower roundabout is a BP station with a Muscat Bakery shop next to it. Useful meeting place if you want to avoid the City Center complex.

A few approximate distances - give or take a few km - to help you find your way (set your trip meter to 0 at the Nizwa/Bidbid turnoff just before Muscat airport - at the big clocktower roundabout), second column is the return journey:

Clocktower roundabout 0 km ~435 km
Mudaybah/Al Mudaiba turnoff (Shell station on the corner - turn right just after it) ~110 km ~325 km
Sinaw/Sanaw turnoff (turn left) ~175 km ~260 km
First Shanna/Masirah turnoff - signposted (turn left - Al Maha station on the corner) ~355 km ~80 km
Second Shanna/Masirah turnoff, wasn't signposted (turn right, small hut was on LH side of road) ~415 km ~20 km
Shanna ferry terminal ~435 km 0 km

Surfspots

Obviously you'll be looking at the east coast of the island. The same weekend I was surfing three foot at Al Ashkharah, some other SODs were getting four to five foot on Masirah Island.

Further south of Masirah (and north) on the mainland is more surf potential. Several people have explored this coast including a team from Surfer magazine. As I get more information I'll post it here.

January 2001 update. On the east coast of Masirah Island we found a great reef break - go across the island from the ferry landing and head south a few km. The swell was only a couple of feet but on the mals we scored rides of a couple of hundred meters at least. Bring booties if you have them, rocks are very sharp and shallow with the small swell.

There is more potential - a couple of reefs at the south end of the island mentioned on wannasurf.com. It's all relatively unexplored.

Weather

Hot and windy in summer, warm and calm in winter. You'll be cool at night in winter. One pleasant surprise is the water temperature in winter is warmer than Dubai. But cold enough to need a wetsuit in the summer!

During June/July/August it gets seriously windy - the Harif or something - and windsurfers head there for a good blast. Also bigger waves but the wind may put you off.

Less waves in winter but watch the swell forecast. Based on what we experienced, I'd guess anything over 3 foot on the chart is going to give you waves worth travelling for - at least compared to Dubai.


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