Andrew Montgomery


The provincial capital of Musandam is small but far from sleepy. Its souq resounds to a babble of different languages, including Kumzari (a compound language of Arabic, Farsi, English, Hindi and Portuguese), and its harbour briefly bursts with activity each time a cruise ship arrives. Fishing boats and dhows amble in and out of the creeks, picking up lobster pots or casting nets in the surrounding bays. Since the lifting of the trade embargo with Iran, the mad dash in fibreglass boats across the 55km strait has pretty much brought the semi-illicit trade in goats and cigarettes to an end, but piracy may yet stage a comeback if international sanctions are reapplied. The town has a great location wedged between steep cliffs and the sea, a feature you can't fail to appreciate when arriving by air or entering the harbour by boat.

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