Alila Hinu Bay Adventures in Oman.
Updated: Jul 6, 2022
Explore the Coastal Region of Dhofar with the Family.
The best time to fly to Salalah Oman is Khareef season, better known as the monsoon season due to the refreshing weather and abundant vegetation that comes to life. You’ll get to see the prettiest waterfalls and you can explore the history and heritage of the southern part of Oman.
For those living in the Middle East it’s particularly enjoyable because we don’t often see rain or refreshing mist. My husband grew up in Dubai and absolutely loves cooler weather. I completely understand that my friends that live in places like London only wish to book a holiday with plenty of sun and no rain or mist whatsoever, but I still think it’s a great place to experience during this time.
There’s literally so much to see and experience for everyone. Dhofar is a stunning region, and the concierge team at Alila Hinu Bay will help with customised activities designed to integrate indigenous nature with adventure and traditional culture with the local community. The concierge are local experts who know this region so well, so you are in the best hands!
Staying at this five-star resort is fantastic for families. If you live in Dubai, it will only take you under two hours to fly to Salalah airport. Then it takes just under an hour to get to the hotel. Once you arrive, enjoy everything the hotel has to offer from the luxury rooms and villas, the fun activities like diving, snorkelling, cooking, and cycling to more adventurous options listed below.
Here are a few activities I really recommend:
Journey to Springs and Waterfalls
This is a great one to experience with the whole family. When monsoon rains make the foothills of the Dhofar region lush, it’s a great time for a tour. Explore the most beautiful water springs and waterfalls of Dhofar, where the mountain meets the plain and the water falls to provide plenty of water for the region.
If you consider yourself as a bit of an Indiana Jones, you’ll enjoy the topography of the karst mountain of Dhofar, formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks including limestone, dolomite, and gypsum, interestingly characterised by the underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves.
The route from Alila Hinu Bay goes West to Wadi Darbat, the main wadi in the region, up to the plateau of Jabal Samhan, some 1,800 metres above sea level and descends towards the coast by Wadi Hinna and an unusual ‘antigravity spot’. Get ready to marvel at both natural wonders and an endless succession of valleys and green hills. The whole family will love discovering such natural beauty and history.
Sunset in Rub Al Khali
This is probably a good idea if the kids are a little older, so I wouldn’t suggest it’s great for babies and toddlers because it’s a long day’s activity. You start the exciting journey through the Dhofar mountain range towards the Shisr oasis and you’ll visit a black camel farm in the Rub al Khali, just in time to see the camels being milked.
You’ll continue your journey to Wadi Malheit, on the edge of the Rub al Khali, which is 650,000 sqm of largely unexplored desert – it’s just a breath-taking experience. You’ll be mesmerised by the sky as the sun sets and radiates behind the dunes. Meanwhile, Alila’s very own guide prepares a traditional Bedouin tea, flavoured with saffron and rosewater paired with nutritious, traditional Omani dates. It’s a beautiful end to your day and you get to share an evening with native desert nomads.
Discover Ancient Bedouin Rock Art
This experience is recommended for older children travelling with families or just adults. You could bring your newborn baby if you are confident enough to go through a long day together exploring.
Visit the Al Mahri tribe, who have lived from camel breeding for thousands of years. They’ve used many caves as shelter, and they’ve carved their history and beliefs into its rocky walls. The history of Dhofar is written on the rocks.
Continue your journey to cross the mountain and reach the pre-desertic plateau from which numerous wadis radiate. Pass through the villages of Madinat al Haqq and Hashinaib until you reach the cave of Kaaf Jimejin to admire rock carvings dating back to the 3rd Millennium BC. Rock art contains some of the greatest artistic masterpieces of mankind and represent the rich spiritual values, human experiences and thoughts that guided and influenced the ancestors of The Sultanate’s thousand-year-old culture.
Finish your journey at the perennial spring of Ayn Ubet, one of the most exciting natural sites in the Dhofar governorate. An optional final stop leads you to a historic cemetery, amidst desert rose and aloe plants, dating back to around 1500, which is still used by the Qahour Al Mahri and Amoush Al Mahri tribes, and considered a particularly sacred place due to its distinctive spirituality.
Discover Historical Dhofar
This is exciting if you’re a bit of a history buff. It’s a great experience to find out about interesting historical locations of the region, along the coast and the spectacular piedmont of Jabal Samhan. Visit the town of Mirbat and see fishermen who practice the same methods as years gone by, sailing on the traditional boats of the Arabian Sea: the dhow. See the historical fort and the new museum of the city, followed by a spiritual stop at the medieval Islamic cemetery.
Continue the journey to a spectacular lagoon named Khor Rori and the archaeological site of Sumhurram (a UNESCO site): a port built by the kingdom of Hadramout to control the trade on Arabian Sea. Afterwards, continue onwards to the beautiful Ayn Razat spring at the foot of the mountain to relax in the shade of tamarind and acacia trees paired with a curated Alila Picnic Lunch. This part is very picturesque.
This route goes from Alila Hinu Bay to the fishing town of Taqa, flanking the spectacular mountain of Jabal Samhan that rises 2,000 metres and is only a few kilometres from the coast.
Explore The Frankincense Route
I love the smell of frankincense so doing this experience was so exciting for me. The whole day is dedicated to discovering about the precious resin that made the region so rich, so much so that it was called Arabia Felix (Happy Arabia) on the first maps of ancient geographers.
Visit the archaeological site of Al Baleed, in the ancient capital of Dhofar, a city described by the Venetian explorer Marco Polo in 1300 as “a great and noble city where the people were friendly and the Sultan generous”.The route will continue to the Khor Rori nature reserve, where you will find the ancient walls of Sumhurram (UNESCO heritage site), and an ancient port city founded in the 3rd century BC for the incense and spice trade in the Arabian Sea.
The fortified city, with 6-metre-thick walls, lies on the mesa at the mouth of the main Dhofar wadi, which forms a lagoon inhabited by stunning pink flamingos and silver herons. It’s a sight for sore eyes. The lagoon of Khor Rori is a natural reserve of spectacular beauty and is considered one of the possible places of ‘paradise on earth’.
In the afternoon, get up close and personal with sacred Boswellia trees, from which the precious resin exudes, in their natural habitat: the pre-desert belt of the Nejd. Then continue to Wadi Sahnawt, where there are ancient Iron Age storehouses that were used to collect incense resin from the region. Enjoy following the stone markers laid by ancient caravan drivers to reach the water springs on the way and imagine yourself walking the same steps as those in years gone by.
To stay at any Alila Hinu Bay is to embark on a destination experience – be it in recreating the flavours of the local cuisine, enhancing your wellbeing through ancient healing arts or the thrill of adventure sports!
For more information and reservations visit their website.
Call: +968 23373350