Duqm is an interesting place. Once just a blip on the map with nothing more notable than a reliable petrol station, and an equally reliable biryani shop. Duqm now has almost become a symbol of Oman’s hopes and dreams.
In an effort to develop non-oil revenue, the government chose Duqm as the site for its latest ecconomic free zone to jump start manufacturing. The port was recently expanded to include a dry dock and repair facilities. Other identified sectors linked with Duqm include mineral mining and fisheries.
The city of Duqm itself isn’t really anything special, particularly with the new industrialization, but there is a bit of magic in the surrounding area that you might fancy. Here are 7 things to see around Duqm:
1. Bar al Hikman
This low laying peninsula features treacherous “sabkah”, or salt flats that can eat your car alive. Sabkah consists of salt, sand, and sediment, and is brought together by flooding making a truly unique location. Keep an eye out so you don’t get caught in any floods.
2. Petrified Wood
This sight is definitely not on the tourist map. Here you can find a number of fossilized trees featuring amazing colors like you have never seen before. There must be many more trees buried under the sand, but somehow just a few have managed to pop up. Please don’t take anything.
3. Khaluf Beach
Beautiful white dunes meet the calm blue sea. What more do you need? This secluded beach is the perfect spot to relax and go for a swim.
4. Rudist Reef
If you are into fossils you might enjoy seeing the Rudist Reef. Rudists are an ancient tube bivalve animal that lived in colonies under the sea during the Cretaceous period. That’s the same time the dinosaurs roamed the earth. At this site we are lucky enough to see good examples of the species and their living habits.
5. The Huqf
Here you will find the oldest rocks in Oman, maybe 730 million years old. This is possible because the area is located on the eastern edge of the Arabian Plate, keeping it up-lifted. The Huqf is rich with fossils from all periods of Oman’s geological history (like the rudists), telling many intersting stories.
6. Rock Garden
Probably my favorite place on the list, and so close to Duqm it’s in the city! Here you’ll find “hoodoos”, or sandstone and limestone structures eroded and shaped by 40 million years of wind and water. Look closely and you’ll find detailed fossils. Step back and you spot a whale, or is it a caterpillar? You decide.
7. Ras Markaz
This long beach is a great place to watch the fisherman with a stunning background. It’s also the only place in Oman I’ve seen a truck towing a floating boat. Wrap your brain around that!
Geoheritage Tour Guide. Ministry of Tourism, Oman. n.d. Web. Sept. 2017. <https://omantourism.gov.om/wps/wcm/connect/mot/7d7366ae-3920-463c-9bb8-51a182b7045c/5850_Geology+Booklet_En_21.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CONVERT_TO=url&CACHEID=7d7366ae-3920-463c-9bb8-51a182b7045c>.
Heward, Alan. “The Huqf.” Geological Society of Oman. n.d. Web. Sept 2017. <www.gso-oman.org/the-huqf/>.