Part 1: Overview of Scuba Diving in Oman.
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The dive site often has better visibility than the rest of the chain, and is known as the place for whale shark encounters. If you go with any of the operators, you will most likely visit this site. Hayut Run is another staple dive site and usually the first choice for the first dive. This dive site is on the Western Set of Islands, and what makes it a little bit different is the coral blocks that it is littered with.
Overall the diving in Dimaniyat is really good in the right seasons, and if you are fortunate to have good visibility, the diving is world class. More information on the best time to dive can be found in the overview article. Bandar Khayran, although slightly less rich in diving than Dimaniyat, still has lots of cool sites to offer.
The entire coastline, heading South East from Muscat, is littered with dive sites. There are plenty of caverns, lagoons, reefs, pinnacles and even some wrecks.
These two dive sites are not far from each other and are the nearest dive sites to both Oman Dive Center and Shangri-La, which makes them a favourite for those dive centers arguably because it saves the boat ride time and are often the choice of site for night dives.
I found this dive site to have healthier coral life than a lot of the others in that area- perhaps the reason why it was named so. It is best to rely on the local guides to plan out the best diving for the day, as they are more likely to accurately predict where the diving will be better based on currents etc. With the exception of Salalah, diving in Oman is rather straightforward if you base yourself in Muscat. The easiest thing to do is fly into Muscat International Airport and stay in one of the many Muscat Hotels.
I suggest reading the 3-part series on UAE for that. Shangri-La is a 5-star hotel with all the facilities and luxury that one would expect. They have a very well run Extra Divers operation that offers daily trips. All the trips are done in Bandar Khayran, and I would rate the diving somewhere between 3 and 4-stars on most days. I would avoid diving in the winder months, as frankly the visibility is quite bad. More on general diving conditions in Oman can be found here.
The cheaper, yet arguably more charming, option is Oman Dive Center , located around 1km from Shangri-La in a beautiful lagoon. ODC is not a luxury experience but definitely has the appeal of a cosier, quieter place with thatched huts and a very well run dive operation located in it. The lagoon within which ODC is located is amazing, and that to me compensates for the lack of quality service or 'glamorous' 5-star comfort.
Using both those hotels as a base will open you up to plenty of dive sites in Bandar Khayran with very easy logistics. Note that you cannot dive Dimaniyat Islands directly from any of the 2 dive centres mentioned above, although you can easily take a drive down to Al Sawadi or Global Scuba around an hour drive- see below and dive from there while basing yourself in Bandar Khayran. If you are intent on diving Dimaniyat Islands- the easiest way is to stay in Al Sawadi Beach Resort, which has a Euro Divers operations that runs daily trips.
Al Sawadi is located about 50 minutes west of Muscat, and is a go-to base for anyone looking to Dive Dimaniyat Islands. The dive centre facility there is large and spacious, and they have a number of boats - as many as 4 per day.
The dive centre used to be managed by Extra Divers who recently left the location and now it is taken over by Euro Divers. I cannot comment on the operation, as I have not been there since they changed management, but judging by their reputation, it is likely that you will get a high level of service. The accommodation is decent bungalows - a little run down, but located on the beach and walking distance from the dive centre, which makes it quite comfortable.
This is easily the cheapest option to dive Dimaniyat. There is not much to do in the club itself, and the facilities aren't great, but if you are focused on diving this is a great option, especially if you rent a car and go to Muscat in the evenings. The dive centre is quite well equipped and their service is decent, although not great.
The boats are all right but sometimes quite crowded, and I didn't like that they would really speed on the way there and back, which made for a rough ride. Overall, if you are not super picky, have your own gear and are looking for a budget option, this is a great find. They are also one of the closest options to Dimaniyat i.
Salalah- from what I have heard from many friends- is gorgeous: It is however very remote, and the drive from Muscat is over a km, so I would not advise that.
The easiest way is to take an internal flight from Muscat to Salalah airport, which to my knowledge does not accept international flights, and dive with the Extra Divers operation there. Please let us know where you would like to dive. You can choose multiple options or let us surprise you.
Please specify when you would like to start diving. Oman Dive Center is located in one of the most beautiful lagoons I have seen. The dive centre is big and the boats are well equipped for diving.
The diving around the Dive Centre - i. Dived with Extra Divers in November Whilst there was a briefing regarding the dive site there was NO safety briefing. There did not appear to be any life-jackets on the boat. Dive guides were unfriendly and inattentive.
No assistance with taking fins or assisting divers out of the water. It might be he only dive operationin the area but it leaves a lot to be desired. I had a great time. I understand where the previous review is coming from. The guys there are a bit relaxed, because I guess they follow an assumption that the divers that come there are more experienced. For example me, I don't like to be helped onboard etc, I prefer to just dive in after brief briefing and be left alone with my buddy: Timur K Saturday, October 17, List Your Dive Shop or Liveaboard.
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If you are intent on diving Dimaniyat Islands- the easiest way is to stay in Al Sawadi Beach Resort, which has a Euro Divers operations that runs daily trips.