The Sultanate of Oman is the second largest country on the Arabian Peninsula, lying along its southeast corner. It has a total land area of 300,000 square kilometres and a population of over two million.
The Musandam, separated from the rest of Oman by the United Arab Emirates, is the northernmost part of the Sultanate.
Due to its geographical position and mountainous terrain it was isolated from the rest of Oman and the region developed at its own pace. Graded roads cut across the mountains have now made it more accessible. The grandeur of Musandam can best be explored by sea.
Musandam Peninsula has an abundance of sheltered fjords, some only connected to the mainland by narrow cliffs. Fjords, or khors, created by fragmented rock stretching claw-like into the sea and massive overshadowing cliffs towering above are magnificently reflected in the water below.
The coast juts into the Strait of Hormuz and extends some 600 kilometres. These spectacular fjords have given the area a second name "The Norway of Arabia" The Strait of Hormuz is only 60km wide and does not exceed 60m in depth and is of strategic importance to Oman as 90% of all the Gulf's oil trade passes through this area.
The total population of Musandam is approximately 27,000 and the capital Khasab has 18,000 inhabitants. Dibba on the East coast of Musandam has a population of approximately 5,500. The Peninsula begins with Tibat, on the west coast in the Arabian Gulf to Daba (Dibba), on the east coast in the Gulf of Oman, this coastal zone, along with many offshore islands, offers a unique contact with nature. Small villages nestle along the tortuous shoreline, most of them only accessible by sea, like Lima and Kumzar.
Its rugged mountains rise up over 2,000 meters above sea level. In Arabic it is known as Ra's Musandam. The Ru'us al-Jibal (the Mountaintops), the northernmost extremity of the al-Gharbi al-Hajar (Western Hajar mountains), occupy the northern tip of the Musandam Peninsula. The peninsula is generally about 35 km wide.
The peninsula is mainly inhabited by the Shihuh, who are fishermen and herdsmen and are probably descended from the original inhabitants of northern Oman. Fishing is the peninsula's main industry with packing plants at al-Khasab and Bay'ah. Transportation is mostly by sea, since no roads cross the forbidding terrain.
Musandam is divided into four wilayats: Khasab, Bhuka, Dibba and Mudha.