Next stop on Oman tour : Greenback Turtles in Sur.


Hello friends,

I am continuing my travel-log about our recent visit to Oman. Please see here and here for our previous two day posts.

Having spent a beautiful day at the refreshing pools of Wadi Bani Khalid, we decided to move on by 6pm. We intended to stop over at Sur.  

Sur is the capital city of Ash Sharqiyah Region ie NorthEastern Oman, on the coast of Gulf of Oman. Its nearly 400kms from Muscat. However from Wadi Bani Khalid, it took us nearly 150 kms to Sur.

This city is historically known for being an important destination point for sailors. Today the city has retained its reputation as a major dhow-building town, the very same vessels that were used for trade two centuries previously. Naturally the sea plays an important part in every aspect of the peoples lives in this region.

However the city is a tourist magnet for its Greenback turtles as well  !  Sur has a nice long beach and its beaches are egg laying beds for the Greenback turtles. Ras Al Jinz is a small sandy bay where greenback turtles come ashore to nest all year round.

The turtles come from the ocean in the mid-night, dig the trench, lay their eggs, cover them with sand and go back to the ocean. Although it is a very slow process, it is rather fascinating how tirelessly (  for nearly 2-3 hours) the turtles, practice and carry forward this tradition instinctively.  These turtles are rather large and hence to see them in their holes, tossing out sand with their flippers and lay their eggs is truly an amazing process !  It is an experience in itself  !

Apparently, over 20,000 female turtles return yearly to this beach where they were hatched in order to lay their eggs.

Omani government plays an important role in protecting these turtles and has harsh penalties for disturbing the females or their eggs.  The only way to visit the beach is through the Ras al-Jinz Scientific and Visitor’s Centre, where you must make a reservation to visit the site with a tour guide after 9 p.m. 

Although previously when we had visited Sur, there was no formal system in place, however we were pleasantly surprised that this time around, the beach, which is around 50 kms from Sur, is monitored by the police. One has to enter before 8:30 pm and they are very strict about entrance time. There is a quota system for the  number of vehicles each night.  Ofcourse  honking is forbidden and one has to follow lines and park only in designated areas. Children have to be controlled too and mobiles on silent mode.  Naturally since Turtles are sensitive to noise and light, silence is a must and flash lights/torches should only be used to find missing children !!!  I was pleased to see that the government was making improvements to conserve this beach and the turtle egg-laying process.

Man is at a loss ~ unless he respects NATURE. Every so often, you come across a selfish moron, who does not show any consideration for nature and all that comprises nature. Introducing the moron, who happily, takes pictures of our mother turtle, shooting flashes of light here way, so as to capture her agonizing, egg “dropping” process ~ oblivious of how his sheer presence must be so annoying to her.

The pictures, here, of the young hatchlings dont belong to me, since I did not want to disturb the little babies with my camera.  

I would always recommend that anyone interested in this spending overnight in this absolutely amazing beach , carry some carpets/rugs, some snacks, a torch (not to point at the turtle, but just incase you lost something) some water and just relax on the beach under the moon light. It is truly divine.   However, please remember to leave the beach as clean as you found it, when you arrived !! Carry your plastic bags to throw your litter in.

Oh yeah, and for people like myself, worry not, there are toilet facilities available !!

Ras Al Hadd is also an ideal option if one wishes to stay close to the beach in a reasonably good chalet-like set up. Only a short distance from Ras Al Jinz Visitor Center.

You can find more information about the Greenback Turtles in sur :- here

Since we reached Sur, rather late and did not have a reservation booked in any hotel, we were turned down by several hotels due to the Eid Holidays.   Finally we got two rooms in  Sur Plaza hotel. The hotel was comfortable, the rooms spacious and clean and the staff, professional and helpful. After such a hectic day and a sumptuous dinner, we all just crashed out in our rooms !!

Next morning, after a refreshing swim in the pool and a pleasant breakfast, we packed and left for the our next destination.

 

I do hope, I have inspired you to pop over at Google Map or such, and atleast check out, where Oman is located and what it has to offer. Truly, its a phenomenal destination with sleepy villages, enchanting coastlines, refreshing wadis enveloped in the Hajar mountains, miles of everchanging landscapes and a few modern cities in between. Oman provides a very complete ARAB experince.

BTW, Just FYI Oman Government or Oman Tourism has not paid me to write this blog. I have been visiting Oman since 1998 and 14 years later,  this magnificient country still does not seize to amaze me with its natural beauty and hidden treasures of Wadi’s and caves.

Thank you for visiting me today.

Sharing my experince with the following parites :-

MONDAY
Making the World Cuter
Craft-O-Maniac
Making Monday Marvelous
Tuesday

Today’s Creative Blog
Hope Studio
Tutorials and Tips Tuesday
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5 thoughts on “Next stop on Oman tour : Greenback Turtles in Sur.

  1. I to have also had the good fortune to witness a sea turtle laying eggs. Loggerhead. It was an experience I remember vividly. What struck me most, was that she had tears the whole time. I guess that better than hearing a screaming turtle. OH, that’s a funny thing to envision!

    1. Betsy ! It was truly amazing ~ watching all the hardwork the mum does inorder to dig the ground ~ then lay those dozens and dozens of eggs and then to bury them well, so as to let them hatch safely !! Its absolutely phenomenal !!!

  2. Asalamu alikum
    I have been referring to your blog as we are planning a trip to Oman this Dec in sha Allah. I have a question for you…Did you have to get permission to get to the beach at Ras Al Jinz to see the turtles? I called the centre and they say they are are not accepting any more bookings for the tours! any information you have will be most helpful.
    Zahra
    Jabal Allah Kheir

    1. Walaikum salam Zahra. November to March sees a huge traffic of tourists and residents visiting Oman and vice versa from Oman to Dubai as well, hence I am not surprised that you have been told that the sanctuary is fully booked. Most of our trips are not prepared far too much in advance ~ we are the kinds who dump a whole lot of stuff in the car including our kids (lol) and just move on places ~ passport in hand, GPS in car and laptop on hand. Hence we had not made any formal booking but I know, that you can request your hotel to try and make reservations for you and since most hotels have a link with the sanctuary, they may be successful in procuring a place for you to visit the sanctuary. Please feel free to turn to my other posts on Oman for any additional information. May Allah swt keep you in his hifazath through out your trip. Ameen.

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