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Oman Tourism

Barsati Village ( Oman) basks in the proximity of nature

( This article was published in Oman Daily Observer, Oman's most prestigious Newspapers, on December 23, 2009. The article is reproduced with the permission of the author )
By Hasan Kamoonpuri

A BARSATI Village  developed at Oman Dive Centre (ODC) a few years ago has turned out to be a real magnet for tourists. Barsati huts on beach is a concept that combines the best elements of the Sultanate’s finest beach destinations (Oman Dive Centre near Qantab) with the outstanding scenic beauty. The best thing about ODC is staying in one of their Barsati beach huts, said a tourist from Turkey. It has all the facilities for a perfect picnic. The dive centre boasts lovely Barsati huts in small groups directly on the beach. What makes the beach stand out from others is that it is wide, clean, safe and shallow and in an almost enclosed bay.

The ODC Barsati Village offers an exciting new experience of being close to the nature. Built in traditional Omani style and similar to those found in date plantations and fishing villages, these huts are all made by hand using date palms from local plantations. Oman Dive Centre, managed by Extra Divers Worldwide, says each one of these palms is chosen very carefully and carved with a unique tool named Majez prior to being used in the construction process.

The open air bathrooms are built out of rocks from the surrounding mountains. Surrounded by coconut and date palm trees, young banana and guava saplings, the Barsati huts are directly on the beach and face out onto the bay. Each hut has its own little terrace for dozing out of the sun and sipping beverages under the moon. There are 35 huts, including bigger sized huts with baby cots on request. All the huts are fitted with a safe box, air-conditioning, fan and other facilities. The Barsati Village is isolated from the rest of the resort, but is within walking distance of the dive centre and restaurant.

The dive centre’s hand-made palm-tree constructed huts, popularly known as Barsati huts, have been a huge attraction for tourists. Families staying in the Barsati huts accept that the sound of crisping palm trees and waves offer a wonderful way to start the night and it seems as if the nature is lulling you to sleep. Staying in the Barsati huts offers a new experience that is refreshing because of being very close to nature. In Oman these huts are called Bait al Daoon. There are also some Barsati huts that are built out of clay as the main building and then the roof is layered with the palm tree. In fact a lot of attention has gone into this authentic style of Omani living and some Omanis still live in Bait al Daoon and that shows how popular is its use, say experts.

In Oman most of the Barsati huts are found along the seashore and date plantations because when the date season starts and the date pickers collect their dates and keep them in huts to dry. Fishermen use Barsati huts to overlook their section on the beach where their boats, nets and other fishing gear are stored. Another benefit of the palm houses is that they help take full advantage of the day/night breezes generated by strong variations in land and sea temperatures. The Barsati hut is a fully handmade item and the pieces of wood used to build it are chosen very selectively.

The family atmosphere at the Barsati Village lends a special beauty to the beach village. Oman Dive Centre’s facilities for diving, snorkelling and dolphin watching add another dimension to the whole range of water sports and recreational activities that one can enjoy. “We can provide airport transfers for our guests. The transfer from the resort to the airport takes approximately 40 minutes, says Mareike.

The Oman Dive Centre offers daily dive excursions, all kind of diving courses, snorkelling, dolphin watching and coastal trips. The centre is open from 8 am till 6 pm. For tourists one advantage is that the dive centre’s staff speak German, Arabic, English, Italian, and Swahili. Tourists admit that the Omani coastline offers a diverse and wide range of possibilities.

Whether it be the reefs of Bandar Khayran — their colourful soft coral gardens and busy schools of reef fishes — or the ghostly shape of the Al Munasir wreck you are gliding by, you will find that Omani waters are teaming with marine wildlife. You can also get a good glimpse of underwater activity as a snorkeller. There are many coral gardens which you can enjoy from the surface with mask, fins and snorkel. Even in less than 5-metre depth, fish are abundant and the amount of different species to admire is breathtaking.

Families staying at the Barsati huts appreciate the fact that the sea of Oman is well known for the different kinds of dolphins. Sometimes it is possible to see groups of hundreds of dolphins and when you are lucky you even can see whales. The Dive Centre offers dolphin watching trips on a regular basis. At its Aqua centre, the dive centre has kayaks for rent. The Odyssey Restaurant is well-known for its delicious seafood dishes.

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