Muscat lies on the Tropic of Cancer. Since ancient times it has been numbered as one of the “hottest towns” of the world. In the 14th century the Arab geographer Abdul Razak described the climate as follows: “The heat in Muscat was so great that it burns the marrow, the sword melted in the sheath and the precious stones in the handle burnt to coal.”
In summer (May – September) the temperature rises to 50°C and the humidity to 95 per cent. Strong hot winds blow over the country from the interior of the Arabian peninsula, ripening the dates on the palm trees. The dark brown mountains surrounding Muscat store the heat and even at night the temperatures barely sink below 40°C. From October to April the temperatures and humidity are bearable; the climate is comparable to a European summer.
The best time to travel through the country is between November and February. The temperatures are between 20 and 30°C, the air is dry and clear, with only rare rainfall. But on the hights of Jabal Shams or Jabal Al-Akhdar you may encounter snow.
South Oman, on the other hand is a favourite destination for tourists from the neighbouring Gulf states from mid-May to September. During these months the monsoon, locally called khareef, brings cooler, moister air masses with it, which are blocked by the mountains of Dhofar. Mist shrouds the country and the temperatures reach 35°C, there is a steady light drizzle, and the countryside along the coast of Salalah is decked in a green carpet. During this season many Omanis from the extremely hot North retreat here. Western tourists generally visit Dhofar in the warm, dry winter months when the air is clear, the seas are calm and even northern Oman has moderate temperatures.
Georg Popp and Juma al-Maskari
What makes this travel guide so special? This book is a product of the long-term personal friendship between the authors, Mr Georg Popp and Mr Juma Al-Maskari and their continuing fascination with the Sultanate of Oman. Combining their insights from European and Omani perspectives, they have produced a guide which is as much about culture and history as it is a practical guide for planning your itinerary.