16 June 2024

Hit the Arabian sea. Great to see blue following the endless expanse of desert. Stopped at a wee cafe for lunch. It was pleasant sitting on the shaded balcony with a strong cooling breeze coming in from the sea. The temperature is 30°C with a ‘real feel’ of 36°C. It’s pretty hot.

Located in Shatti Al Mughsayl area, which is about 40 km from Salalah in the Governorate of Dhofar, Al Marneef Cave is ranked among the top 10 most popular tourist attractions in the Indian Ocean. It overlooks the Arabian Sea and Al Mughsayl Fountains (which also happens to be the most preferred picnic spot by locals and tourists).

Al Marneef Cave doesn’t qualify as a cave due to the absence of any opening (or hollow space), yet the symbolic cave-like look lets it qualify as a cave. Al Marneef Cave is a large rocky structure which faces a mountain. Several smaller caves are also present on Al Marneef making it a popular rock-climbing spot.

Another reason which makes Marneef Cave a popular tourist attraction are Al-Mughsayl Blowholes (natural fountains). There are three of these which are at proximity to Al-Mughsayl Beach. The sound of water gushing through rock cavities and hence emerging out as a natural fountain altogether makes up for a marvellous sight.

When I was there, the tide was too low for the blowhole to spout. Foolishly, I stuck my head over the hole to see what I could see. Somewhere, deep in the bowels of the blowhole, there was water movement. Of course, the water movement compressed the air and, as I looked over, the escaping air blew my hat off. People thought it was funny. I felt a bit of an eejit but thought it was funny too.

Stayed here for a few hours and then bussed onwards to our hotel in Salalah for 2 nights.

(Please click on any thumbnail above to enlarge the whole gallery for full size sliding photos)

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