Al Batinah North and Al Batinah South
The Al Batinah region is divided administratively into two governorates, Al Batinah North and Al Batinah South. It stretches from Khatmat Malshah in the North to Ras Al Hamra in the South and Northwest towards the UAE. Al Batinah North contains 6 williyats - Sohar, Shinas, Liwa, Saham, Al Khabourah and Al Suwaiq, while Al Batinah South contains a further 6 williyats - Rustaq, Al Awabi, Nakhl, Wadi al Maawil, Barka and Musannah. Combined, the two governorates have a population exceeding 761,977 making them the largest of any region in Oman.
Sohar is the central williat of the northern region. Previously known by the name Majan, Sohar is positioned around 230km from Muscat and was the capital of Oman before the advent of Islam. This thriving city is renowned for its production and exportation of copper and its busy fish souq.
The Al Dimaniyat Islands are home to a nature reserve which spans the williyat Barka in the Al Batinah South region and Al Seeb in the Muscat governorate. It is situated 18km off the coast of Barka and 70km from Muscat. The reserve consists of nine islands and covers an area of 100 hectares. The islands are important for the protection of many species including nesting turtles, migratory birds and the diverse marine life which reside in the coral reefs. Crystal clear waters and pure sands add to one of the most perfect diving experiences in Oman. There are a multitude of diving sites among the islands and the area is also fantastic for snorkeling. Camping on the islands is possible too.
Rustaq is the central williyat of the southern region. Rustaq also has a fort and a bustling souq displaying traditional crafts, goods and livestock.
Other natural wonders to explore in the region are the hot therapeutic springs, located at Ath Thawarah and Al Kasfah.