Geography

​The Sultanate of Oman occupies the south-eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Oman is bounded by sea on two sides, the Sea of Oman to the northeast and the Indian Ocean to the southeast. The Sultanate's landward borders are with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the west and the Republic of Yemen to the south, while the United Arab Emirates borders Oman to the north..

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The country is predominantly open desert consisting of gravel plains and areas of sand dunes. The largest of these dune fields comprise the Ramlat al Wahaybah (Wahaybah Sands) in the east and Ar Rub al Khali (the Empty Quarter) in the west. There are also two large mountain ranges. The northern coastline is dominated by the Al Hajar Range (the Eastern Hajar "Al Hajar Al Gharbi" and the Western Hajar "Al Hajar Ash Sharqi") whose highest mountains are the Jebel Akhdar (or Green Mountains) peaks, rising to more than 3000 metres (Jebel Shams) above sea level.

This upland region is heavily dissected by deep wadis (dry river valleys) which remain dry throughout most of the year but can flood after winter storms.

On the northern side of the Al Hajar Range lies a narrow fertile strip of coastal land called the Batinah where the majority of the nation's population lives. The southern slopes of the mountains are notable for their oasis towns where date groves flourish in the dry desert air.

The southern province, the governorate of Dhofar is dominated by a range of coastal mountains known as the Dhofar Mountain Chain. The height of the Dhofar Mountain Chain helps to capture valuable moisture during the summer monsoon season, which impacts only the southern region. The character of the mountains in the south is quite different to those in the north. During the summer monsoon the southern mountains turn green with vegetation whose roots help delay the effects of erosion resulting in a soft rolling landscape more akin to central Africa than the Middle East. As in the north, a narrow fertile coastal plain lies between the mountains and the sea at whose centre lies the southern city of Salalah, surrounded by lush vegetable farms and coconut groves.

 

The governorate of Musandam, projecting into the Straits of Hormuz, the enclave of Madha and numerous islands complete a country of great diversity of terrain and stunning natural beauty.