Ministry of Tourism focuses on geological tourism
Geological tourism is one of the most important part of the tourism sector of the Sultanate. This is because of the geological nature of the Sultanate due to its geographical location. Mountains, fountains, caves and rock formations create a geological symphony of the Sultanate, which is unique in the world. Oman has geological diversity which makes it a tourist attraction. It is full of terrains, climatic conditions and natural factors which make landscape beautiful and rich, particularly for those who enjoy natural and geological changes.
By implementing the mechanical geological guide project, the Ministry of Tourism has highlighted its extra attention to the geological tourism potential of the country. This project is initially targeting 30 geological sites in Muscat governorate. Dawood bin Sulaiman Al Rashidi, Assistant Director of Tourism Product Development in the Directorate General of Tourism Development, said: The Ministry of Tourism is aspired to develop tourism products, take care of their sustainability and improvement of services. It wants to ensure that there is optimal use of its biodiversity which makes Oman unique.
This is the reason why the Ministry of Tourism is focusing on the implementation of mechanical guide for geological tracks in Muscat governorate. It is also working on projects to increase the level of environmental and tourism education and awareness among the people.
It is also introducing geological tracks in Muscat governorate. He said that the mechanical guide would enable tourists to explore the geological heritage, rock formations, and other such natural components which are formed during different periods.On the components of the project, Al Rashidi said, “The project is comprised of an electronic application which provides important information about any geological, tourist, environmental or cultural features in four main languages.The application is also linked to the Ministry's website named as Muscat geo-heritage.
The project also has explanatory maps and sign boards installed in each location in Arabic and English.He said that these sites were visited by many researchers and university students interested in knowing about these components. They want to identify and explore geological sites formed thousands of years ago. The Sultanate is one of the geological fields of the world due to its geological formations made over different periods of time.
He said that the Sultanate was full of unique geological tourism sites which are of authentic ecological nature. These sites make Oman a unique destination for those who like to explore the geological nature and enjoy its rocks and water spread in various areas. There are wadis, fountains, deserts and geological beauty spread in large areas surrounded by mountains and caves. They are intersected by lakes, islands and creeks. There are wadis in open areas. Also there are many fountains. All these elements attract tourists.
The Wadi Gul is formed by the force of penetrating water of the gray limestone which had formed in the Hajar Mountains. Tourists can feel the rocks which have texture as that of glass. This indicates water pressure that permeates this valley.
In Wadi Auf, which has limestone, you can watch some rocks dating back to the Cretaceous period. In parts of it, there are silt rocks that turned into sharp spikes resembling pencils.
Wadi Al Sahtan is also rich in sedimentary rocks. The soft rocks at the bottom of the wadi point to continuous flow of water in the past and in the area around the village of Khadra, located a few kilometers into the wadi.After Wadi Mistal, the visitor can pass through a limestone range dating back to about 120 million years. Some white lines which overlap the rocks point to calcite rocks, which are relatively common calcium carbonate, towards the west of Al Ghubra village, 5 kilometers from the oldest residues of some of the glacial deposits in Oman.
Ithabat Teeq bore is one of the biggest geological sites of this kind in the world. The depth of the bore is 300 million cubic meters. It is part of the remains of a very large cave which collapsed in the past. White limestone is also found on both sides of Wadi Al Khudh, south of Muscat Express.
This was formed at the bottom of the sea when this area was rich in marine life.
The very large bend in the rocks, known as Al Tiyyah Al Miq’ara, is at the entrance of Wadi al Meeh in the town of Al Hajar on Muscat-Quriyat road, where the sedimentary layers are changed to U-shape. The front of the rock formation “Tiyyah Al Ain”, is in oval shape like an eye formed 250 million years ago. Similarly, there is fountain Al Birak Al Waghlah in Dima wal Taeen with massive geological importance.
Mountains and caves-
The Sultanate is also rich in mountains and geological caves, such as the porous limestone deposits in the Jabal Akhdar or which is called as fossilized waterfalls. There is Jabal Mishatt, which is one of the most important rocky site on Bahla-Ibri road. In Jabal Akhdar, one of the largest mass extinctions in the history of the earth can be seen. On the northern side, there are dark and thin layers discovered by accident and indicate that it was formed 251 million years ago.
There are also wonderful geological sites in east of wilayat Mirbat which is formed of crystalline rocks formed from granite stone. Some rocks date back to 1300 million years and are considered to be the oldest rocks in Oman. There are mountain rocks in the "Jinn Cave" on the Quriyat - Sur road.
This limestone dates back to 45 million years ago. There is cave rock which is 4 million square meters. It is considered to be the largest cave in the world. There are many other sites that are tourist attractions due to their geological value.The Hoota cave is made of limestone rocks. It is based on a layer which has high waterproofing feature. Visitors travel on specially designed roads to see the cave's stalactites hanging from its roof.
The Daymaniyat Islands form the charming 20 km long archipelago of Oman, which is part of a natural reserve.At the height of the tidal operations in Bar Hakman, seawater exceeds a few hundred meters, leaving behind shallow lakes.
Ras Al Midrakah is considered one of the most beautiful geological sites in Oman. It has dark slopes and white beaches near marina Bandar Al Rawdha, less than 20-kilometer drive on the magnificent road from Qantab to Bandar Al Khairan overlooking a coastal area with a number of submerged wadis.The visitors find it interesting to visit Damaniyat Island, a fascinating archipelago that stretches 20 kilometers northwest of the seaport in wilayat Seeb.
Tourists can see a striking combination of nature’s harmony in the Ras Ruwais peninsula, 60 kilometers northeast of the town of Hajj in wilayat Mahut.The lagoons, which are located on the north-west coast of Al Kuhl in wilayat Al Jazir, turn pink due to budding of Donalella Algae in salty water.
The Ras Al Madarka Island is also considered one of the most beautiful geological sites in Oman for its dark ouviolite slopes and white beaches.The deserts of Sharqiyah are also an attraction for tourists. It looks like a sea of deserts. One of the most beautiful geological landmarks in Oman is less than one kilometer from Shell's state-of-the-art fuel station. The rock formations consist of fragile limestone deposits.
The Sultanate has sites rich in white dunes, such as the coastal village of Al Khaloof in Al Wusta governorate overlooking Ghabba Hashish. It is located only 40 kilometers northwest of the village Hajj. The coast extends south of Al Khaloof towards the city of Duqm. This is one of the few areas of Oman where the dunes are white. These dunes are mainly composed of calcium carbonate, which is transported by wind from nearby beaches in an exquisite landscape that attracts tourists. (ENDS)