Oman – DHOFAR Wadi Dawkah – The Frankincense Park near Salalah Posted on November 20, 2011 by kuwaitquilter On our drive

back to Muscat from Dhofar at the end of the Eid Al Adha holiday, we stopped in at the Frankincense Park. It is one of four UNESCO sites in Oman. When we first pulled up, we didn’t think that it was much at all. In a valley – or wadi – there were rows of small frankincense trees.

Several sets of stairs descended into the wadi – and there was a small building that housed the lavatories. Letting the dog out of the car to get some exercise, we went down to take a look.

A young man in workman’s coveralls approached us – we weren’t sure if he would ask us to get the dog out of there or what. We were pleasantly surprised. He is a Pakistani Christian who welcomed our company. It turns out that he tends the whole area all alone, planting new trees, both by cuttings and seeds, and keeping them watered. He hasn’t been in the country very long, I think, as he wasn’t very fluent in Arabic – counting out the numbers to get the right one…. but between English and Arabic, we learned quite a lot. An eight year old tree is about 4 feet tall.

That means that the few I’ve seen here in Muscat must be quite old as they are probably 15 feet tall

” These”. black seeds that smell of incense when crushed. Inside the locked gate. There were a few flowers showing on some of the trees. and led us through the trees toward a tall chain link fence. “Come with me”. there were taller trees. he said. . The new leaves grow right at the tip of the old wood.with thick trunks. and showed us where the bark had been scraped away. Tariq said. “are the old ones.” He took us to one of the bigger ones. and also dead.

There are 4000 trees altogether.leaving a cut about the size of your palm where the sap of the tree was oozing out. He said that every two days. young and old. I’m not sure just how many of them they are harvesting from right now. he had to go around and collect the beads of frankincense. The beads of sap were very .

we walked down to the signs. Back on top. .white – the best frankincense of all.

here is a really good site. which forms a central part of the Land of Frankincense UNESCO World Heritage Site.mei. More than 5000 frankincense trees have been planted in the reserve. you can see the same trees in the background that are in the picture of the wadi on the http://www.Here. For more information about frankincense and its history. which covers and area of more than five square kilometres.aspx Wadi Dawkah is a lage area of frankincense trees. .

The harvest lasts for 3 months and the average yield of frankincense resin for one tree is around 10 kilos. The Route comprises the ancient cities of Al-Blaid and Shasr.000 tones of frankincense annually Omani frankincense. Taqah is a favourite destination for Omanis as it represents the birthplace of their beloved sultan.ericlafforgue. as soon as the temperatures start to rise. . Visitors will also enjoy the opportunity to see local fishermen bringing in the day’s catch down by the water’s edge. with the town’s impressive Taqah Castle museum revealing tales of its glorious past in a collection of fascinating exhibits. which is considered to be the finest quality in the world. which was listed by UNESCO in 2000. The first 'cut' is called the tawqii and consists of paring off the outer bark of the branches and trunk. it boasts pristine white beaches to accompany its enviable climate. candles as well as in halls of worship around the world. and both livestock and travellers flock to enjoy the markedly cooler temperatures. The Governorate of Dhofar produces approx. Taqah Taqah is another Dhofari town with a rich history. A carpet of lush green vegetation results. The second 'cut' which follows this period. It is an important ingredient in the manufacture of incense which is burned on social occasions. Beautiful hotels. and are then able to purchase the freshly caught seafood at the souk shortly afterwards. and a stunning natural backdrop make Salalah one of the country’s favourite cities for travellers. Its vibrant culture reflects its historical association with Zanzibar. fragrant. With this third 'cut' the tree produces frankincense resin of yellowish color which is sold commercially in the market. Khuwr Rori. the beautiful city of Salalah. The 'cutting' of the frankincense trees calls for great skill. At the beginning of April.The Frankincense Route in the Governorate of Dhofar. Each year as the rest of the country’s temperatures soar during summer. is known as the southern capital of Oman. the khareef brings monsoonal rains to Dhofar landscape. These locations collectively contributed to the flourishing of the frankincense trade for many centuries throughout the Middle Ages. Mirbat Nearby Mirbat is a picturesque seaside town. produces resin of an inferior quality and the real harvest begins two weeks after the second 'cut'. perfumes. powders. the southern region of Dhofar is a stark contrast. Salalah Dhofar’s capital. a one-time colony of Oman. 7. This causes a milky-white liquid to ooze from the tree which quickly solidifies and is left in this condition for 14 days or so. and while much of Oman falls into this category. Facing south over the Arabian Sea. Both of these fragrances are harvested from locally grown species of trees and at one point were worth more than their weight in gold. the frankincense gatherers cut the frankincense trees in many places. © Eric Lafforgue www. is still much in demand in many countries. a captivating souk. and the ruins of an old town dating back many hundreds of The Arabian Peninsula is typically associated with arid desert landscapes. complete with its own majestic castle. HM Sultan Qaboos. and Wadi Dooka. This led to a prosperous local economy. having been a major shipping port for both frankincense and myrhh. in the manufacture of medicines. colourful souks.

from the excavated columns of buildings built two thousand years ago to pieces of stone tooling used by fishermen two thousands years before that. However.quite literally . A vast number of ancient artefacts are on display. with ruins dating back well into pre-Islamic times. although the place is undisputedly of great historical significance. with the desert sands quickly shifting in to cover the remainder of the town’s buildings above. an oasis of wildlife and lush green vegetation at the base of the Dhofar Mountains chain. Located in Salalah. Wadi Darbat Only thirty minute’s drive from Salalah.a must-see for any visitor to Salalah. Sumhuram is one of four sites on the UNECSO ‘Land of the Frankincense Trade’ World Heritage List. Here. This remarkable treasure was only discovered in 1992 with the aid of a NASA satellite. Like Sumhuram. Located at Khawr Rawri. it was also a trading port for frankincense. a key consideration in the town's planning which allowed for the monitoring of shipping and also ensured its safety from marauders. The precious sap from these trees -and others across the Oman landscape . It is thought to be the famed ‘Atlantis of the Sands’ proposed by Lawrence of Arabia. Wadi Dawkah The last site of UNESCO World Heritage Listing is Wadi Dawkah. it disappeared off the map . As a result. however. and increased its connections with other nations as the fragrance was traded as far away as Europe and China. Al Balid Another UNESCO-listed site is Al Balid Archaeological Park. The town was reported to be a ‘paradise’. an impressive collection of ruins is still the focus for archaeological teams who seek to unearth more about this once thriving city. a major hub on the caravan route between trading cities of the region. having been buried under the shifting desert sands for centuries.Sumhuram East of Taqah. Shisr The next site on the UNESCO World Heritage List is at Shisr: The Lost City of Ubar. a place of unparalleled opulence that thrived as a centre for trading local fragrances with exotic goods from the East. Speculation remains as to whether or not the excavated ruins behind Shisr are indeed the famed Ubar of history. References to Al Balid and its splendour date back millenia. Sumhuram has commanding views over the waters of Khawr Rawri (sometimes spelled 'Khor Rori') and across to the ocean. it was also a major port for the shipping of Arabian horses. Salalah Museum Perhaps the best place to trace Oman’s prosperous path through history is the Museum of the Land of the Frankincense Trade.for over a thousand years. its ruin came suddenly when the limestone cave over which it was built collapsed. Travellers will marvel .brought the country great wealth throughout history. This museum is perhaps the most complete and comprehensive in Oman . a protected stretch of over one thousand frankincense trees situated about 40km north of Salalah. including notable mentions by Marco Polo around 2000 years ago. visitors will discover the remains of the ancient port of Sumhuram. this fascinating museum hosts a range of interactive exhibits which take visitors on a journey through more than 10 000 years of human history. Artefacts dating back several thousand years have been uncovered by archaeologists who continue to take a keen interest in the site. Wadi Darbat is one of the natural treasures of Oman.

and other livestock graze the abundant grasses on the banks. Every so often. Camels. where the beautiful charcoal mountains terminate in precipitous white faces which plunge into the turquoise sea. Al Mughsayl Lastly. Wadi Darbat showcases the richness and colour of both the Dhofar landscape and the Omani culture. A visit to Dhofar will provide many of the highlights of an Oman holiday with its offer of stunning scenery. During the khareef. incredible history. and various unique elements of Omani culture. Al Mughsayl is located about an hour’s drive west from Salalah. Wadi Shuwaymiya Above Salalah. during the height of the khareef. on the northern side of the Dhofar mountains. its landscape distinct from the many other wadis to be found across Oman. travellers descend into Wadi Shuwaymiya. they are greeted with richly coloured rock formations which curve and flow in remarkable patterns. Here. while limestone stalactites hang from cliff faces in the background. creating a festival the vibrant contrast to the vast regions of desert to the north. Wadi Dawkah is a protected stretch of over one thousand frankincense trees situated about 40 kilometer north of Salalah. On a strikingly beautiful section of the Omani coast. while birds nest in the wetland areas. . The majesty of Wadi Shuwaymiya has an other-wordly quality about it. cattle. Of even greater attraction is the breathtaking vista looking west towards Ras Sajir. the wadi floor is punctuated with the vibrant green of acacias and the occasional palm tree. It is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. waterfalls cascade over the wadi’s rocky slopes and into the river below. Families from all around the region come to share in the magic of the annual summer rains. the seawater pounds against the cliff faces and rushes up through a small opening to create an impressive blowhole. Dhofar Wadi Dawkah: Land of the Frankincense Wadi Dawkah is a natural park in Dhofar Region bearing copious growth of frankincense trees (Boswellia Sacra). It will undoubtedly rank as one of the highlights of any Oman holiday.

Oman The precious sap from these trees brought Oman great wealth throughout history and increased its connections with other nations as the fragrance was traded as far away as Europe and China. Wadi Dawkah stretches over the wadi (dry riverbed) approximately 4kilometer from northwest to southeast. Dhofar Region. in an effort to increase the tree population.The landscape of Wadi Dawkah. Additional frankincense trees are being planted in Wadi Dawkah. Boswellia sacra tree from which frankincense resin is obtained .

This causes a milky white fluid to ooze from the tree which quickly solidifies.000 tones of frankincense annually. .The trunk of Boswellia sacra tree The usual time of harvest starts in April as soon as the temperatures start to soar. The second slash after the stripping period. The average yield of frankincense resin for one tree is around 10 kilos. It is left in this condition for 14 days or more. The Governorate of Dhofar produces approximately 7. The first slash is to strip the outer bark of the branches and trunk. The third incision is the penultimate. Frankincense resin dripping from the tree Harvesting the precious resin lasts for 3 months. The frankincense gatherer makes several incisions in the trunk of a tree. produces a resin of inferior quality but the real harvest starts two weeks after the second slash. it is at this instance when the tree produces frankincense resin of yellowish color which is sold commercially in the market.

Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) began production in August 1967. The Omani Government owns 60% of PDO. 4% is owned by Compagnie Francaise des Petroles.The frankincense from Oman is considered to be the finest quality which garners high demand in many fragrant.dpuf Fahud Oil Field . powders. known today as Total and Partex owns 2% interest. and candles. gas and petroleum products. Frankincense is an important ingredient in the manufacture of incense which is burned on social occasions like nuptials and venerations. Oil was first discovered in the interior near Fahud (where I am presently based). .jw32tm8g.See more at: http://whitedogleader.A Humble Beginning The Sultanate of Oman's dramatic economic development over the past 40 years was brought about by the revenues from oil.blogspot.html#sthash. in the western desert in 1964. it is similarly used in the manufacture of medicines. Royal Dutch Shell owns 34%. perfumes. The aromatic frankincense resins . and foreign interests own 40%.

A typical pumpjack used to produce the remaining recoverable oil after natural pressure is no longer sufficient to raise oil to the surface. when geologists began intensively searching for oil in neighboring Saudi Arabia. the logistics of supply were problematic. Vital route to the interior from Muscat was often made impassable by the hostilities between warring tribes.and gas-producing nation had humble beginnings. Western Desert of Oman . Oman's growth into a successful oil. Twelve years later. it was so humble that it originated from a miserable failure. A geological survey of the country in 1925 found no conclusive evidence of oil. however. Lacking and with very limited infrastructure to assist survival in Oman's hostile desert environment. In fact. Oman's Sultan Said bin Taimur granted a 75-year concession to the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC). Problems were compounded by political unrest. As a consequence. the early exploration confronted hard times.

Table Cliff Near Fahud 1 A Water Pit .

Flaking Salt Flat Fahud Anticline .

Fahud is PDO's oldest and largest field in northern Oman. Geologist started Stratigraphy investigation work and field mapping the area. The hardships endured were a total waste because the well was dry.A Typical Desert Floor Scene When IPC finally decided to drill its first well in Fahud in early 1956. they had probably drilled close to a possible fault and . At the time the geologists realized that although they had drilled near the crest of the surface anticline. One can imagine the disappointment of all parties involved when the well tested a bit of gas and saw only a few traces of oil. Natural Gas Well With large oil discoveries in neighboring countries naturally the hopes for success in Fahud-1 were high. supplies had to be transported from Duqm in the south of the country. across more than 300 kilometers of some of Oman's most deserted and inhospitable terrain. The Fahud structure was first recognized from the air in 1948 but was only explored on the ground in 1954.

neighboring anticlines were avoided. Fahud-1. The first oil well. IPC’s prime target was the Jurassic Arab zone. was spudded on January 18. three further unsuccessful deep exploration wells were drilled at Ghaba.NE (right) schematic cross-section illustrating the unlucky near-miss Because of continuing disappointments in the exploration quest for oil most IPC partners in PDO withdrew from the venture. just offset to the northeast from the surface anticline. From 1957–1960. Fahud oil field is a big tilted fault block at Natih levels. a member of the group. If they had done so they would have discovered the big Fahud oil field. But because Fahud-1 was dry. Fahud-1 SE (left) . formed another consortium with Compagnie Francaise des Petroles and Partex and continued the exploration.suggested to move the rig a few hundred meters and restart the well. Shell. and missed by some 200 meters by the Fahud-1 well. . and Afar. 1956 but abandoned 18 months later with only minor oil shows. Haima.

Fahud 2 Oil Well Memorial Later on in 1964 oil was discovered at Fahud on the other side of a fault line from the location where IPC had sunk Fahud-1. The field is roughly 17 kilometers long by 2.5 kilometers wide.Fahud 1 Oil Well Memorial In 1963 the Fahud-2 oil well. with an estimated 6 billion-plus barrel of oil. Gas Flare at Fahud . making it the largest field in Oman. hit a pay zone.5 km from the Fahud-1. facilities and a pipeline were built and oil exports began in 1967. To date. there are more than 400 wells drilled in Fahud field. Fahud 2 is producing from the Natih fractured carbonates. 1. Following the discovery of the prolific Fahud and Natih fields.

A Drilling Rig Site in Fahud A Drilling Rig Site in Fahud .

A Typical Rig Camp in Fahud An Oil Rig Preparing to Move .

An Oil Rig on the Move The new and modern Fahud Airport which begun operation in 2009 .

the speed limit for light vehicle is 100 km/hr only and similarly. The memorial of Fahud – 1 Oil Well can be reached by taking the graded road to the left (southwest and southwards) before reaching Fahud Camp while the memorial for Fahud – 2 Oil Well can be found very close to Station Bravo. Please be aware upon entering PDO Concession Area.blogspot.Permanent Accommodation for Contractors How to get there: Fahud is about 335 kilometer from Muscat.5UetotRe.See more at: http://whitedogleader.html#sthash. From Muscat take the national highway to Nizwa and subsequently the main road south to Salalah. Fahud and Yibal. At 33 kilometers after turning onto the Salalah road turn. While en-route you will be impressed by the whaleback of Jebel Salakh dominating the southern horizon. which is somewhere 24 kilometers. PDO Concession Area. . be aware of heavy oilfield traffic or rig moves. The tarmac road will take you to the Natih roundabout some 92 kilometer Follow the left route to Fahud. take the junction right at Izz signposted to PDO's main oil fields.dpuf . mostly over concrete-paved roads. Natih.