Sharqiya North and Sharqiya South
The Sharqiya region is located 65km from Muscat, in the direction of Sur and is divided into two governorates. Sharqiya North contains the williyats Ibra, Al Mudhaibi, Bidiya, Al Kabil, Wadi Bani Khalid and Dima W'attayeen. Sharqiya South contains the williyats Sur, Al Kamil W’al Wafi, Jaalan Bani Bu Hassan, Jaalan Bani Bu Ali and Masirah. Together, the Shaqiya governorates have a population exceeding 348,969, making it the third most densely populated region in Oman.
Sharqiya is an area of exceptional beauty and boasts a stunning coastline including a number of unspoiled beaches such as Tiwi and Sur, which are popular among campers. Further south lie Barr Al Hickman and Masirah Island. The fertile wadis such as Wadi Shab, Wadi Daikah and Wadi Bani Khalid are also popular places to explore and take photographs.
The dunes of Sharqiya Sands are a breathtaking spectacle for any visitor and are the traditional home of the nomadic Bedouin tribes. Dramatic shadows and roaming camels make for spectacular photographs. You will require some knowledge of driving on dunes and proper sand driving equipment in case you get stuck. A knowledgeable guide is always a helpful addition.
Sur is the main city of the region and lies 310km from Muscat and now the new dual carriageway road between Muscat and Sur reduces the distance by 170 Km. Sur is an ancient port with many fishing dhows setting off for a nights work from the harbour. The fresh catch is sold in the fish souq the next morning and is an interesting place to catch in action. The nearby boatyards are fascinating to visit as you can witness the construction of dhows in all the different stages.
Craftsmen and women keep the age-old skills alive by producing traditional goods such as the Omani wizar (male undergarment), massar (turban) and a’ba’eeya (shawl) all of which are made on a traditional hand loom. The wool used for the weaving is sourced locally.
A number of forts and castles are dotted around Sur, including Sunaysilah Castle which is more than 300 years old and Bilad Sur Castle which is set inland and surrounded by lush date palm plantations.