When it comes to dive center ownership, location is everything. You need access to good diving, good transport links for customers to reach you and a demand for diving that will sustain your operation. Salalah, the capital city of Dhofar province in the Southern region of Oman, provides these qualities for PADI Dive Centers.
What can you expect from owning a dive center on Oman’s Southern coast?
Like most places on Earth, dive store owners here can expect seasonal variance. In real terms, June to September is considered the low-season due to the Indian Ocean climate change. Although monsoon rain settling over the mountains turn the typical Arabian landscape into lush green scenic views, the diving grinds to a halt. Heavy rains wash out many dive sites and turn the underwater flora from vibrant coral fields into dense kelp forests. The strong winds and limited visibility make diving opportunities in Salalah difficult in this Khareef (autumn) season.
To learn more about the unique nature of Oman’s diving, visit the PADI Blog.
Once the Khareef is over, the diving starts! As to be expected from a Gulf country, everything goes back to normal sunny days during September. The green mountains fade for another year, giving way to the beautiful wild and white beaches. Temperatures average 30 degrees and are twinned with a pleasant constant ocean breeze. The water warms up and divers are ready once more.
Where to dive and what to expect?
Mirbat – Beach Diving and shallow waters. PADI Dive Centers can conduct all of the PADI Entry Level Courses in Mirbat.
Mirbat is approximately a 45-minute drive from Salalah. It is reached by 4X4: halfway on a scenic highway, paved alongside the Dhofar’s mountains, and the remaining part of the journey is an off-road drive above sandy dunes. All the dive sites in Mirbat are characterized by easy access directly from the shore. Underwater, the abundance of sunlight and limited depth provide the perfect conditions for corals to flourish. Mirbat’s diving environment not only offers stunning coral gardens, but also a great range of fish: from the tiniest Nudibranches, Flat Worms, Shrimp and other crustaceans to Clownfish, Octopus, Morays, Stonefish …and if you keep an eye on the blue, it is not unusual to spot different Rays, Turtles and Barracudas.
Main diving spots are: Eagle Bay, China Wreck and Aquarium.
Salalah – Boat Diving and depths of 30m offer a wide range of diving opportunities for a PADI Dive Center
Differently from Mirbat, diving in Salalah is operated by boat – departing from the fisherman’s port, which is easily reachable with a short drive from any accommodation in town. Dive sites are all located West of the port and along the cliff’s faces. Bottom’s depth in this area averages from 7 to 30 mt. therefore dive sites vary in topography each with something unique to offer; depending from your certification level, you can choose the better depth range that fits your needs. Given the location, marine life here changes with the season, constantly offering something new to admire: there is a large variety of Morays, Crocodile fish, Cuttlefish, Frogfish, the occasional huge Turtle and gigantic – up to 2mt.-Stingrays. During the dives, it is a good habit to monitor the surface as there is always a chance to find yourself caught in a school of Sardines being hunted by Trevally or even Mantas searching for Plankton.
Main diving spots are: Port wall, Raysut point and Donkeys Head east/west
What are you waiting for? For more information on diving in Oman, contact PADI Regional Manager Teo Brambilla