Every year, the shores of Oman become abundant with nesting sea turtles as they migrate from the Arabian Gulf. Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve is the best place to watch the Green Turtles going about their business.
Sea turtles have been roaming and swimming about the earth for over 110 million years. And there are four different species of migrating turtles you’re likely to see in Oman: the endangered Green Turtle, the Olive Ridley Turtle, the Loggerhead Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtles. The last actually a critically endangered species. Most grow to about 1 metre long and can weigh up to 150kg.
And it’s the green turtles that bring the tourists to Ras Al Jinz. This is the only place in the world where you can view them nesting. Set up in 2008, the reserve strives to offer these incredible creatures a safe place to lay their eggs. And they seem to like it here. Every night, green turtles come up to the shore looking for the best place to nest. They dig and scrabble their way through the sand in their search. When they’re done, they make their way back into the sea, crossing their fins that their eggs will be safe.
There are two nightly tours at the reserve. The first is at 8pm when you’ll see the turtles arrive. And the second, at sunrise so you can see the hatched babies toddle off back to the water. Somehow, they instinctively know that this is the right thing for them to do. Even though it means making the terrifying journey past crabs and foxes.
You can stay overnight at the hotel attached to the reserve and as this is a night experience you might prefer a bed for the night. You’ll be sleeping in amazing eco-tents which focus on getting you back in touch with nature. After all, the turtles are the real stars here.
Oman has some wonderful wildlife experiences, especially if you head out into the desert. But if reptiles and amphibians are your thing then the sea turtles will be unforgettable.
There’s nowhere better than Oman to see them and Ras Al Jinz is the greatest place in the world to get a front row seat.
While you can see sea turtles on several beaches in Oman, Ras Al Jinz is the only one where you can watch the endangered green turtles nesting.
July – October is the peak turtle watching time, although they’re active throughout the year.
What you need to know:
Flash photography isn’t allowed because it disturbs the turtles, which means you’ll struggle in the night with your camera. Far better just to sit back and watch the turtles do their thing in the night and then take some snaps when the sun is coming up the next morning.