Think of Oman.
You might visualise a country of impressive topography, where rugged mountains meet the silky sand dunes of the desert and date palm oases give flashes of green in an otherwise arid landscape. Overhead, skies are vast and cloudless, offering visitors guaranteed sunshine and winter warmth in this ancient area of the Arabian Peninsula.
But not many people know that Oman also offers the opportunity to indulge in high-octane fishing adventures off the glistening coastline of Salalah.
Located beyond Muscat and the mountains, Oman’s second city, Salalah, holds two aces. Firstly, the ethereal and otherworldly Empty Quarter, an ever-shifting set of golden sand dunes, close to the border with Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It is here that you can find Frankincense, the most revered scent of the ancient world which is released as resin through the bark of trees that are thousands of years old. Secondly, and for some more appealing, is the prospect of superlative yet challenging fly-fishing.
Although slightly more off the beaten track, those who choose to visit Salalah will be rewarded with a beautiful white-sand beach and a UNESCO World Heritage archaeological park.
Stay at the Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, the first and only luxury pool resort to come to these shores.
Nestled between a private beach and a freshwater lagoon, Anantara is the perfect place to retreat to after a rewarding day immersed in Omani heritage or casting a fly.
For the fishermen and women among you, fishing here can be an exhilarating experience and will certainly push the boundaries of your comfort zone. To hook an elusive Indo-Pacific Permit, you will need to hike to remote deserted beaches, potentially running their length in pursuit of your quarry which is often found tailing in the shallows. You may also have the chance to cast to a monster Giant Trevally. Out on the dark blue waters of the Arabian Sea you can target large schools of Pompano, Bluefish, Milkfish and Queenfish.
Back at Al Baleed, congratulate yourself on a first-class day of fishing with an indulgent Frankincense Ritual at the luxurious spa or relax by the infinity pool, which overlooks the wide beach where you’ll see camels sauntering past. Soak up local heritage at the archaeological park or take a peaceful dhow trip at sunset. The nearby Jabal Samhan Mountain is a worthwhile day trip from Salalah. Here you can trek to a plateau 1700m above sea level and explore the mysterious Tawi Attair sinkhole.
For those curious about the greatest sand desert on earth, the majestic Empty Quarter, we suggest a memorable night in an Arabian bell tent, equipped with bucket showers to wash away the grains after a day losing yourself in the deafening silence of this spellbinding wilderness.