Some 35km from Sur at the easternmost point of the Arabian peninsula, RAS AL JINZ is home to Oman’s most important turtle-nesting beach, visited by thousands of magnificent green turtles every year, who haul themselves up out of the sea to lay their eggs in the sand. This is perhaps the finest natural spectacle anywhere in Oman (even if, ironically, you can’t actually see very much after dark) – a magical glimpse into a natural cycle which has been in existence for the best part of two hundred million years.
Visits begin with a walk across the sands in the darkness to the edge of the waves, from where you’ll see the ghostly silhouettes of perhaps a dozen or more green turtles emerging slowly from the surf and then heaving themselves laboriously up the beach – a Herculean trial of strength for these enormously heavy creatures. Half an hour later, having found a suitably sheltered location, the turtles begin digging themselves carefully into the beach, scooping out clouds of sand with their flippers to create a sizeable hole in which they then proceed to lay their eggs.
The whole scene is particularly magical at daybreak, as the sun rises, revealing the beautiful, cliff-fringed beach dotted with the great humped outlines of departing turtles, leaving great plough-tracks in their wake as they make their way slowly back down the beach before disappearing, exhausted, into the waves.