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  • Writer's pictureAlly Landes

DIVING KHASAB, MUSANDAM | Exploring the Other Side of the Strait of Hormuz

This yellowmouth moray had found the perfect home.

Musandam Dibba is well known for its diving getaways, but the Khasab side is still relatively unexplored. Armed with a small team of photographers and videographers, Freestyle Divers invited us to set out in search of what lies beneath the surface of this part of the Strait of Hormuz to each tell our stories. It so happens, there is much to see and endless discoveries to be made.

Freestyle Divers have opened their new dive centre in the Atana Musandam and also caters to its less pricey sister hotel, the Atana Khasab, on the cliffs just across the bay. Situated 160 km from Dubai, Khasab also offers some cheaper accommodation options which can be found through – but ask Freestyle Divers if there are any available promotional rates through the hotel for the dates you are planning to go.

The stylish dive centre is designed with a photographer’s needs in mind, and their upstairs camera room has all your storage and charging requirements in place. There are still plans in the works to further the divers’ experience which will only increase the quality of this already great establishment. The changing rooms have secure lockers for all your valuables whilst you’re out on your dives, and there is a comfortable lounge area where you can help yourselves to tea and coffee and chill out before setting off once you’re kitted out. Lunch is provided on the dives and served onboard during your surface interval in a tiffin-style lunch box with a salad, sandwich, fruit and cake, and a big pot of sweet milky tea is ready whenever you are.

Freestyle Divers Entrance
Freestyle Divers Dive Centre
Freestyle Divers Terrace
Freestyle Divers Reception
Freestyle Divers Equipment Drying Area
Freestyle Divers Camera Room
Freestyle Divers Kit Room
Atana Musandam

The landscapes of Musandam are just as stunning from either the Dibba or Khasab side, making the boat journey over to the dive sites a joy, especially when the seas are calm. During this particular trip, we were unfortunately touched by some unusually bad weather for this time of year and it produced some poor visibility, and in the end, some choppy seas, cutting our dives short. With that in mind, the diving did not disappoint. Musandam has some beautiful seascapes for the wide-angle photographers and visibility does play a vital role, but there is a lot of closeup stuff there too.

We managed to dive 3 areas of Khasab, starting in Jazirat Abu Rashid (3 dive sites) where we saw a beautiful leopard shark (Stegostoma fasciatum). Jazirat Musandam has several dive sites (8) to choose from depending on the sea conditions and we saw both yellowmouth morays (Gymnothorax nudivomer) and honeycomb morays (Gymnothorax favagineus). Jazirat Abu Sarr (3 dive sites) gave us a Jenkins’ whipray (Himantura jenkinsii) and the critically-endangered hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) – you had to be quick to spot it though! Some of the group were lucky to see other turtles during the first 2 dives.

Yellowmouth moray (Gymnothorax nudivomer) by Marine
Honeycomb moray (Gymnothorax favagineus)
Jenkins’ whipray (Himantura jenkinsii)

Amongst the bigger fish which Musandam is known for due to its reputed strong currents, there are plenty of smaller species to spot and find in all the nooks and crannies. Striped eel catfish (Plotosus lineatus), nudibranches of various sizes, from minute to downright huge, all sorts of crustaceans, and the pink and yellow soft corals (Alcyonacea) including teddy bear corals (Dendronephthya klunzingeri), and the orange common sponge (Crambe crambe) create some pretty stunning scenarios in camera. I especially love the Arabian butterflyfish (Chaetodon melapterus) which I have not seen on the Dibba side. These are just a few of the things amongst everything else we saw during the 3 dives we did with the weather’s permission in March.

Nudibranch by Marine
Nudibranch by Marine
Soft Corals by Marine
Soft Corals by Marine
Soft corals (Alcyonacea) by Marine
Teddy bear corals (Dendronephthya klunzingeri)
Arabian butterflyfish (Chaetodon melapterus)

If you’re staying in Khasab for an extended stay or some of your party are not diving, then there are several other unique experiences to be had. One of the highlights is to visit Khasab Castle which was built by the Portuguese in the 17th Century and then taken over by the Omanis in 1624. It’s a small museum but worth the visit – or book a traditional half day dhow cruise and visit Telegraph Island and see the dolphins of Musandam.

Freestyle Divers

Atana Musandam, Khasab

Tel: +968 7221 0385

Atana Hotels

Visa Requirement: e-Visa

The Royal Oman Police has launched the new e-Visa system to apply for your visa online.

  1. Visit this site:

  2. Register as a user.

  3. Login with a username (registered email and password).

  4. Click on “Apply for Visa” and pay the fee.

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