Home to the most diverse range of marine species in the Arabian Sea, Oman is an attractive option for scuba divers. Twenty-two species of whales and dolphins can be spotted off the coast of Oman, as well as a plethora of marine and coral life.
Oman benefits from having much lower visitor numbers than the Red Sea whilst sharing many of the same species; an unspoiled diving destination.
Not just for experienced divers, Oman offers calm conditions and warm waters suitable for beginners.
The Best Places to Go Diving in Oman
Each of the 5 dive sites named below provides a diverse diving experience and the chance to see a variety of sea species up close.
Daymaniyat Islands: Sea turtles and coral gardens
Nine islands, accessible from Muscat, make up the Daymaniay Islands, Oman’s first designated marine reserve. As well as being one of the world’s most important hawksbill sea turtle nesting grounds, divers can expect to swim amongst an abundance of fish and other marine life.
The islands boast standout coral reefs and, during the cooler months, divers get the chance to swim among whale sharks.
Visitors should be aware that the Daymaniyat Islands are closed for protection from May through to October.
Al Fahal Island: Shark Island
Located 2.5 miles (4 km) off Al Qurum beach in Muscat, Al Fahal is a small island with diving reefs down to 131 feet. It is given the name Shark Island due to the large number of black-tip reef sharks to be found in the shallow sandbank.
Other marine life that thrives in the area includes barracuda, giant eagle rays and Mobula rays.
Each one of Oman’s 39 coral species can be found here, making this one of the country’s most interesting diving sites.
Bander Khayran: one of the best wreck dives in Oman
Bander Khayran is made up of 5 dive sites relatively close together, most notably Al Munnassir. A 276-foot vessel, The Al Munnassir was sunk by the government to create an artificial reef. Schools of snappers, turtles, and rays all now inhabit the site.
Other highlights include the large honeycomb moral eels that can be spotted around the coral reefs and caves.
Being mostly shallow coral reefs, with a depth of around 50 feet, Bander Khayran is suitable for divers of all abilities and many divers complete their open water qualification here.
Turtle City: see 5 of the world’s turtle species on 1 dive
This site is perfect for beginner divers given its location in a calm, sheltered cove. Plentiful green and hawksbill turtles inhabit the site. In fact, 5 of the world’s 7 sea turtle species can be found at Turtle City.
Mirbat: home to 22 species of dolphins and whales
Situated in Dhofar Governorate, some 620 miles (1,000 km) from Muscat, Mirbat offers a different diving experience.
The summer monsoon season results in a drastic drop in temperatures and gives rise to great underwater diversity. With coral reefs and kelp forests, Mirbat is one of the few places on the planet where both can be found.
Divers get the opportunity to swim side by side with whales, dolphins, and cuttlefish, among other species. This dive site is better suited to more experienced divers given the poor visibility and rough water.
Dive centers close from May to September when the water is particularly rough.
The Best Time of Year to Go Diving in Oman
The best time to go scuba diving in Oman is from October to May due to the warm water and calm conditions. Depending on the dive site, water temperatures are around 66 to 82 ºF (19 to 28 ºC) at this time of year.
For the calmest conditions, divers should opt for the first trip of the day.
Divers hoping to see whales and sharks are recommended to plan their trip from September to October.
Diving Operators Located in Oman
There are a number of diving centers in Oman, mostly situated around Muscat, offering a selection of different tours. There’s something from every taste and need, including plenty of schools offering courses for beginners. Prices vary depending on the specific services you decide to book.
Tourists are advised to book in advance and check the equipment provided.
How to Reach Oman Dive Sites from Overseas
Tourists from overseas can fly to Muscat International Airport followed by a flight to Salalah.
Efficient bus routes run between Muscat, Salalah, Sohar, Sur, and Nizwa. For a safe and comfortable trip, visitors should check Oman travel advice prior to travel.
Is a Visa Required to Visit Oman Scuba Diving Sites?
As most foreign citizens require a visa to enter Oman, those planning a diving trip should make sure to have their papers in order before leaving. This can be done by checking the Oman visa requirements.
Citizens from many countries are eligible to apply for an Oman evisa. The application, which allows tourists to request a visa online in just a few minutes, is the quickest and easiest way to obtain the permit.
With a tourist Oman evisa, visitors can stay in Oman for up to 30 days, the best options for those planning to explore Oman’s scuba diving sites.