Visit Salalah for the first time and you would be forgiven for thinking you had moved from the Arabian Peninsula to the coasts of Africa. This lush, subtropical city, capital of the Dhofar region enjoys a unique climate, thanks to monsoon rains from India known as the Khareef, which occur in the summer months and transforms the surrounding area into a green, misty oasis.
This is Oman but different: palm-fringed beaches border luxurious hotels but the atmosphere, thanks in part to the city's trading port past, is reminiscent of Zanzibar in Africa rather than other parts of the Arabian Peninsula. Although bordered by the Rub' al-Khali (or empty quarter), the world's largest sand desert, the area is known for its banana and papaya plantations which are only possible due to its unique climate. There's even a festival celebrating the monsoon which causes this which runs from mid-July to August each year.