Travel

A Saudi in a parallel universe

A road trip to Salalah, Oman with a unique perspective.

By Mohammed Aljubran

A crowd in Wadi Darbat waterfalls in Salalah, Dhofar Governorate, Oman. Photography by Mohammed Aljubran.

Wherever there is water there is life, that’s what we’re taught, and no proof of that is exemplified better than in beautiful Salalah, a city in Oman’s Dhofar Governorate. The monsoon season is always generous here. The abundance of water attracts life from across our beloved desert-dominated peninsula, and way beyond it as well. 

Tourists flood the city during the three months of the monsoon starting from July, as water transforms the rocky mountains around the city to God’s green heaven.

Scarcity of life before Salalah. Photography by Mohammed Aljubran.

Our road trip to Salalah started from Dammam, Saudi Arabia, during which we drove over 2,000km of tar, passing through a vast yellow void, with the occasional deserted gas stations and buildings reclaimed by dunes. Life was as scarce. We then arrived at a magical security checkpoint that led us to a parallel universe where lush greenery filled our eyes, and water was in the air. The road to cross the mountains of Salalah swerved as we descended to the city, where the Arabian Sea crashed its waves creating a lullaby that sent us to a much needed peaceful sleep in one of the many hotels and resorts available in the city.

Above the clouds on Samhan Mountain in Salalah, Dhofar Governorate, Oman. Photography by Mohammed Aljubran.

As expected from (a) heaven, Salalah was kind, welcoming and generous. So were the people who live there—a common impression of Omanis in general. Whoever we approached never treated us as strangers, even before we exchanged names and went out of their way to help us while offering us cups of tea.  We easily felt like we were at home among them, as they shared their bread, butter and smiles.

“Life is abundant in Salalah. But the life I sought with my camera was the one people brought there.” Wadi Darbat waterfalls Salalah, Dhofar Governorate, Oman. Photography by Mohammed Aljubran.

The roads climbed through and above the clouds, providing a wide range of scenery that is uncommon in the peninsula. We gazed at cliffs overlooking only clouds from above. We observed sinkholes and caves branching through the mountains leading to the sea as if the mountains were breathing the sea breeze. We saw valleys rich with waterfalls and rivers— one of the main attractions for tourists in the area.

A scene from the road trip. Jibjat Village, Dhofar Governorate, Oman.

A trip to Salalah is always worth the effort it takes to reach there, regardless of where one starts their journey. I’ve made this journey before and the area still takes my breath away.  Life is abundant in Salalah. But the life I sought with my camera was the one people brought there.

The views of the authors and writers who contribute to Sekka, and the views of the interviewees who are featured in Sekka, do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sekka, its parent company, its owners, employees and affiliates.

Mohammed Aljubran is a photographer from Saudi Arabia. Click here to see more of his work.