Marine conservation holiday in Oman

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Marine conservation holiday in Oman


Although popular myth has Arabia down as a vast, flat and empty expanse of sand (and oil), Oman is quite different. In fact, there is a wide range of contrasting landscapes: high mountains, beaches, the desert landscapes of the Empty Quarter, coral reefs and even tropical habitats, where the monsoon touches Oman in the extreme south.

The 650 kilometre coastline of the Musandam peninsula is strewn with rocks and coves, gradual steps, steep rocky slopes and cliffs that plunge to great depths all over the fjord-like landscape. The coral reefs that grow along the margins of this stunning landscape are still relatively untouched as influences such as industrial-scale fishing, pearl or scallop extraction or large numbers of recreational divers have not wreaked their destructive influence there. The area is therefore a prime target for studying intact reef ecosystems, conserving them for future generations and using them in the education of people locally and all over the world.

Overall the scenery can only be described as spectacular with 1000 m high, solid rock peaks dropping straight into the sea. Below the water, coral reef development around the Musandam is one of the best in all of the northwestern Indian Ocean. More than 100 species of hard corals form the framework of a complex coral community lining most of the rocky shores. Most coral communities are very diverse and show little signs of environmental stress. Some communities are dominated by branching hard corals, whereas in others, massive, slow growing colonies from the basis of the community.

The reefs are in excellent condition with percentage coral cover reaching the highest levels seen in the world (80-90%) with over 200 species present. They teem with large grouper, emperors, and schools of jacks, snapper and fusiliers. Turtles, lobster and sting rays can be seen with an occasional reef shark passing by. Colourful species endemic to the Indian Ocean and Oman are numerous. Blue and yellow Indian Ocean angelfish are so common that they form schools. The Arabian butterflyfish is everywhere and hard to miss due to its brilliant yellow-orange colour.

The dives range from walls to gentle rocky slopes covered by hard corals, with black coral and blue gorgonians common. All of our survey dives are to a maximum 20 metre depth.

We are a multi-award winning (including multiple awards from Responsible Travel), not-for-profit organisation committed to running real wildlife conservation research expeditions to all corners of the Earth and says

Our projects are not tours, photographic safaris or excursions but genuine research expeditions, promoting sustainable conservation and preservation of the planet's wildlife by forging alliances between scientists and the public. Our goal is to make, through our expedition work, an active contribution towards a sustainable biosphere. We believe in empowering ordinary people by placing them at the centre of scientific study and by actively involving them out in the field, where there is conservation work to be done.

We always work in close conjunction with local people and scientists and try our best to ensure that the fruits of our expedition work benefit our local helpers, their society and the environment they live in. Adventure, remote locations, different cultures and people are part and parcel of our expeditions, but also the knowledge that you will have played an active role in conserving part of our planet's biosphere. We exist for those who, through their hands-on work, want to make a difference to the survival of the particular species or habitat under investigation, and to the world at large. We invite everyone to come and join us out in the field, at the forefront of conservation, to work, learn, experience and take responsible guardianship of our planet.

To achieve this we will wherever possible: + collaborate with reputable scientists, research institutions and educational establishments (wherever possible from the host nation) who are experts in their field + collaborate with organisations and businesses which operate in an ethical and/or sustainable way + operate in an ethical and sustainable way, minimising negative impacts on local cultures, environments and economies + publish results and recommendations based on collaborative work together with those who helped gather data and draw conclusions.


On this project we are working with Reef Check, the Emirates Diving Association, local dive centres, businesses & resorts, the local community, Sultan Qaboos University, the Oman Ministry for Environment and Climate Affairs, the Oman Tourism Board, as well as the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN).

All missions are developed with local partners and scientists, as well as community representatives where appropriate. This consultation serves to minimise negative impacts on local cultures. This is often developed through a more complete integration into the local community, by working alongside them to achieve a conservation objective.

Accommodation varies from fixed camps, jungle lodges to tents. Where applicable, these will be owned locally.

Where possible food is sourced from locally supplied produce and ideally from organic sources.

Where applicable, team members are encouraged to spend their relaxation time using local facilities and resources.

We always work in close conjunction with local people and makes sure that the fruits of our work benefit local helpers, their society and the environment they live in.

Briefings before the start of the mission and leaders during the mission highlight relevant social issues and offer best practice examples to team members.

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