Discover hotels and villas for luxury diving holidays in Musandam, Oman

The Ruus al Jibal is separated from the rest of the country by the UAE's Hajar Mountains: imagine the sultan ringing the best bits on the map – 'Yep, we'll have that palm-lined valley, that strategic Gulf trading passage and that little bit there with the nice oasis and date groves' – and that's more or less the lie of Oman's extra land. To the north, Khasab's fertile plains and port are the hub of humanity; to the south-east, hard to access from the capital Muscat other than by boat, the Musandam Peninsula's riches are in the ocean – coral reefs harbouring countless shoals of fish, turtles and whale sharks. Oman's seafaring tradesmen, pearl divers and fisherfolk may have plied their trade along this coastline for centuries, but it's still largely uninhabited – and not often visited. Go 'round the bend' and cruise along the Khor ash-Sham or Elphinstone inlet, carving a channel through cliffs that rise to over 1,000m, and the only inhabitants you'll see other than nomadic tribespeople and local villagers are mountain goats, ospreys and dolphins.

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