Salalah, Oman Cruising Update March 2006

Published 17 years ago, updated 5 years ago

This has become a very popular stopping point for boats on their way to the Red Sea. Unfortunately, the large number of boats hasn’t helped the customs and immigration officers to devise a smooth plan for clearance procedures. They are friendly, however, and with a little time and patience it all works out.

Contact Port Control on channels 12 or 16 when you are a mile out. They’ll advise you if you are clear to come in or not. Entry into the harbor is straightforward and after passing the large cranes on your starboard you’ll find the yacht anchorage in the last bay on the port. There is plenty of room for a dozen or more boats and it is very well protected.

After anchoring, go ashore to visit Immigration. They are located in a very small building at the head of the anchorage. There will be one officer on duty there who most likely won’t speak very good English. He will stamp your passport and issue a visa. The cost for this is 6 Rial (about $16 US) per passport and 15 Rial for the Port Police I believe. You’ll receive a receipt. The trick here is that you will need to pay in Rials. There is a bank with ATM just outside the main gates but you are not allowed to leave until you’ve gotten cleared in. So you figure that one out.

Immigration will also issue you a piece of paper which is essentially a shore pass. After finishing with him ask him to call Customs for you. The customs officer drove up and met us which was nice since their office is at least a mile away and is tricky to find in the middle of the port. They won’t even bother visiting the boat and will only need one crew list. All pretty easy.

Salalah Port is a military compound and isn’t really very well suited for cruisers. The anchorage is about 1 km from the main gate. At that gate, there is a building where you are supposed to check in and out every time you go through. It gets really tedious after a while and most of the officers couldn’t care less, so most of the time you will find yourself just walking right on by.

There are a couple of agents around trying to drum up business though you don’t really need them for anything. They’ll rent you a car for 13 Rial or you can rent one in town for closer to 9 with a little haggling. There are taxis at the entrance but they get really tiring. They are merciless and it takes hardcore bargaining skills to get a fair price. There is a board posted that lists the prices to different areas, such as 10 Rials ($26 US) into the city when in actuality you should be able to get it for about 3. Some people were able to get a taxi to drive you around for about 1 Rial per hour. It really is easier to just get a car as soon as you can though.

If you’d like to read more about what there is to see and do around Salalah you can visit our website at and check out our March 2006 logs. Though I will mention that just outside the port is the Oasis, which is an ex-pat bar and restaurant where you can get good cheeseburgers, nachos, and beer.

Clearing out was fairly straightforward. You need to visit customs first to receive your Port Clearance. They will want you to leave within a couple of hours, but they don’t follow up on this and you can easily clear out the night before leaving if you’d like. After that, a quick visit to Immigration for your exit stamp in your passport and you’re done.

Overall Salalah is worth a visit. The people are friendly, the grocery is well stocked, laundry is good, fuel is cheap ($1.25 per gallon) though you have to jerry jug it from the gas station a few miles away, and the scenery and camels outside the city are beautiful.

Pat and Ali Schulte

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