Turtle Watching in Oman

The Sultante of Oman is home to some of the most important turtle nesting grounds in the world with thousands of turtles migrating annually from the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf (and beyond) to lay their eggs on the Sultante’s shores.

Green Turtle, Ras Al Jinz, Oman
Green Turtle, Ras Al Jinz, Oman

Turtle watching in Oman is undoubtedly one of the country’s great natural spectacles and shouldn’t be missed by any enthusiast of the natural world. Five of the world’s seven species of turtle are to be found in Omani waters. The Green (Chelonia mydas); Loggerhead (Caretta caretta); Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea); and Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) all nest on the shores of Oman, while the largest visitor; the Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), stays in Oman’s off shore waters.

The drama unfolds at night during nesting season when female turtles drag themselves from the water on to the beach, and using their hind flippers, dig circular holes  40 to 50 centimetres deep which are then filled with between 50 and 200 soft-shelled eggs – depending on species. After laying, the turtles re-fill the nest and return to the ocean, leaving the eggs untended. The whole laborious process takes about sixty minutes.

Turtle Hatchlings, Oman
Turtle Hatchlings, Oman

Amazingly, the hatchling’s gender depends on the sand temperature. Lighter sands maintain higher temperatures, which decreases incubation time and results in more female hatchlings. Incubation takes about two months after which the turtle hatchlings emerge (usually at night) and instinctively scurry towards the relative safety of the sea as fast as they can. The dash to the sea is a magical event and, if lucky enough to witness it, a highlight on any turtle watching in Oman holiday.

Turtles nest along the entire length of the Omani coastline from Musandam in the north to Dhofar in the south, but some areas are more popular nesting sites: Ras al Jinz (the most easterly point of Oman) is famous for its green turtles, whilst Masirah Island attracts the loggerhead in great numbers, and off shore from Muscat the hawksbill can be found on the Daymaniyat Islands.

Corinthian Travel specialises in tailor-made holidays in Oman and can include a turtle watching experience as part of any Oman holiday. Ras Al Jinz is the most accessible site for turtle watching in Oman. Here, the best time to see turtles laying their eggs is between June and August. September to November are the best months to see both laying and hatching. To the south, on Masirah Island, the best months for watching nesting loggerhead turtles is between July and September. Corinthian Travel’s Family Holiday in Oman includes a night at Ras Al Jinz with the opportunity to watch turtles. Please contact us for further details.

2 thoughts on “Turtle Watching in Oman

  1. I must admit, that it is one of my regrets that I didn’t see that in Oman, I guess I will have to go back! 🙂

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