Divers are spoiled for choice when it comes to exploring the seas that surround the UAE and Oman. The lower Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman should satisfy all tastes and levels of experience, whether you’re a diver, a snorkeller, or enjoy a little of both.
There are more than 30 wrecks to choose from, almost all in relatively shallow waters, with tropical coral reefs and dramatic coastlines that are virtually undived just waiting to be discovered and explored.
The water temperatures are ideal too; although the land temperatures can hit the high 40s in the summer months, it is rarely too hot when dipping into the sea, where temperatures range from around 20°C in January to 35°C in July and August.
The best dive sites are located in three main areas: the east coast, the west coast and Musandam. These range from shallow reef dives, to wreck diving and the nesting sites of turtles. There are literally hundreds of options and the choice is yours.
The weather on the east coast can be very different to that in the west. The east coast and Fujairah are typically a few degrees cooler during the summer months and this side of the peninsula also tends to be more protected from the shamal winds which can cause rough seas on the west coast of the UAE. Given that most dive sites are within a couple of hours’ drive from the main cities, you can be sure to find a dive spot with favourable weather just about any day of the year.
September 2012 Update: It has been reported that off-roaders/campers/hikers are no longer able to easily cross into Oman from Dibba due to authorities enforcing stricter border rules. According to local news reports, Sharjah officials at the Dibba crossing - an unofficial border station - have been demanding UAE residents offer proof of a hotel stay or a booking with a dhow operator in order to go into Oman.
Several tourism operators and sports' clubs have revealed that residents are now required to send a copy of their passport and their residency visa to the hotel where they will stay 48 hours in advance. As a result, it is advisable you plan ahead when deciding to enter Oman for a weekend away.
June 2013 Update: Female UAE residents from outside the GCC can no longer travel to Dibba without the permission of a male relative or their employer.
The emirate of Sharjah – which is home to the Dibba border crossing with Oman – introduced the new requirement in late May, meaning that non-GCC females living in the UAE would require a no objection letter (NOL) from their sponsor, typically their place of work or husband. For more information, read Restrictions for females to Dibba.