Dhofar is the most southern of Oman’s regions, and it thus experiences the monsoon most strongly of Oman’s governorates around June to September. This lends it what is perhaps the most vibrant of veils in the country when the rains lead to a riot of new growth and greenness all over, which is perhaps part of what makes it so popular with tourists. Yet Dhofar is so much more than green and lush country: it is a land where the sands hide near-mystical cities and ports waiting to be discovered, remnants of the time when it was the biggest supplier of frankincense in the world.
This was once called the Land of Frankincense, although it is no exaggeration to say it still counts as that even now; it was the primary source of this valued substance in ancient times, and exported the product along routes that went all the way to China. This has been so for literal ages, and this only means that there is a superabundance of historic sites here as a result. Yet the ruins to be found in Dhofar go even further back than the establishment of the Frankincense Route, with archaeologists finding sites dated as far back as the Middle Paleolithic—tens of thousands of years in age.
Some sites are naturally more popular than others and more accessible. There is Samharam in Khawr Ruri, which is dated back to 1000BCE and which may well have been among the most well-known of ports in the ancient world (when frankincense was in even greater demand than now). There is also the site of formerly buried city of Awbar, another 1000BCE settlement discovered only at the end of the 20th century and once compared by Lawrence of Arabia to Atlantis. Even the very markets or souqs ooze this sort of return to the past: classical Dhofar culture is strong and is still powerfully visible in many of the structures even now, such as in the Al Husn market of Salalah (the biggest city in the region). The very stalls of your typical souq will also yield a remarkable selection of local artefacts and traditional products, as in the case of the souq of Al Hafah about 3km from Salalah. Local culture is further celebrated in the Salalah Tourism Festival from July to August.
The beauty of Dhofar is really that it is so versatile in its offerings. If shopping and archaeology do not interest you, then perhaps a trip appreciating nature will: Dhofar has several lagoons for birdwatchers, such as Khawr Awqad, Khawr Ad Dahareez near Salalah, Khawr Sawli in Wilayat Taqa, Khawr Al Baleed (which has an ancient city on its banks), and of course the Khawr Ruri in which Samsahar is located. It also has sites like the Al Marnif Cave of Shatti Al Mughsayl (this has a surging water fountain best seen during the monsoon season and is situated near Salalah), the great sinkhole of Tawi Ateer (with a total capacity of 975,000 cubic metres of water) and the Teeq Cave situated nearly on its top rim, Al Balid and its port (a city said by archaeologists to have been in existence well over the 2nd millennium BCE, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and even stretches of fine-sand beaches like Al Maghsayl and Al Hafah. Overall, this is among the richest of tourist spots in the entire country, and definitely worth a visit for the traveller.