Driving west out of Salalah, a winding road takes you through the rocky coastal plains to the white sand beach of Al Mughsail. When road and water finally meet, it’s a beautiful drive along this long stretch of beach. At the far end, is the Marneef cave which overlooks the blowholes and the turquoise blue Arabian Sea, set against a dramatic backdrop of rocky mountains. This by far, is the most attractive part of Salalah.
The Al Marneef Cave
As the name suggests it isn’t actually a cave but a huge open sided limestone rock shelter. The overhanging rock provides a natural shelter making it a great viewpoint to take in the seascape of Al Mughsail and get a first glimpse of the blowholes.
From this rock like shelter we made our way to the blowholes which is a five minute walk. A wooden gallery borders the path right through, probably as a protective measure especially near the blowholes where the sea beats into the rocks.
The Al Mughsail blowholes are a natural phenomenon resulting from the momentum of the water surging into the cavities of rock that lie mostly under water. They are three small holes in the rock through which jets of seawater shoot into the air. The sound effects (similar to the sounds of an air block you sometimes hear in taps, only more amplified as they echo through the rocks) precede the fountain of sea water. I heard that during the Khareef when the sea is choppy these blowholes can be pretty impressive when the water spray surges up to a height of 25 – 30 meters.
A board at the entrance has a request for visitors which I think applies to any place you visit.
Take nothing but memories
Leave nothing but footprints