The top places for spotting wildlife in Muscat

Want to take a walk on the wild side? Then Muscat is the city for you. The capital of Oman comes with a big reputation for wildlife, with a number of top places to visit to see some of the region’s most enigmatic animals. On both land and water, you can enjoy some incredible natural experiences here. Or explore the fertile wadis (valleys) to discover hundreds of bird species.

Muscat combines the marine spectacle of whales and dolphins with desert oases and fertile valleys to provide unique habitats for animal life. A world-class bird watching destination, as well as being home to more typical animals such as camels and goats. Visit any of the above destinations below to see the best of wildlife in Muscat.

1) Dolphin cruise

Head out from the port in search of the playful dolphins which populate the waters just outside the city. Keep your eyes peeled for bottlenose, spinner and common varieties – all of which are found in large numbers. They’ll be skimming and jumping in the water and will often come up close to your boat for a closer look – perfect for a unique holiday snap. And, if you’re really lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a hump back whale too. Cruises usually last between 2 and 3 hours, with refreshments provided. The best time to go is early in the morning, but do bear in mind that seeing dolphins and whales is never guaranteed. This is the natural world after all.

2) Mangrove Lagoon

Discover a natural green area on the coast just outside the city. This unique ecosystem is home to salty tidal waters and hardy mangroves, providing a beautiful green backdrop for some top animal spotting. Whilst the salty coastline might seem a slightly harsh environment, it’s amazing to see how much life actually thrives here. Check out the birds, crabs, fish and other marine life that populates the water – often using the mangroves to shelter from other predators.

3) Qurm equestrian school

In this part of the world they are famed for their horses. So what better way to experience these magnificent creatures than on a horseback ride along the beach? Okay, so this is not technically wildlife, but this is a animal adventure that you will never forget. Trot along the water line, guiding your magnificent steed, with instructors on hand to help you learn more about how to handle your horse.

4) Wadi Al Arbeieen

This gorgeous green oasis lies a couple of hours outside the city but it’s well worth the effort. Take a 4x4 ride through valleys and dry riverbeds, with a rocky and mountainous backdrop to take your breath away. It might seem like a dry environment but there are camels, birds and goats to encounter. You might even meet some of the nomadic locals who have lived in oases such as these for generations.

5) Al Ansab Wetland

Love birds? Then this is the place for you. Home to more than 290 species of bird, this wetland lies in the heart of Muscat. Check off little grebe, greater cormorant, little egret and plenty more as you see them at this avian paradise. Just don’t forget to bring your camera as there are some great shots to be had.

6) Qurum Natural Park

The jewel in the crown of Muscat’s green spaces, these lush gardens are home to stunning fountains and fragrant roses. You’ll also find lots of bird species flying around and nesting. Take a walk to Waterfall Hill, or sit on the lawn and simply watch the natural world around you go by.