Salalah is the second largest city in the Sultanate of Oman, and the largest city in the Dhofar Province. Salalah is the birthplace of the current sultan, Qaboos bin Said. Salalah attracts lots of people from other parts of Oman and the Persian Gulf region during the khareef season, which spans from July to September. The climate of the region and the monsoon allows the city to grow some vegetables and fruits like coconut and Banana. There are many farms within the city where these vegetables and fruits grow.
Salalah was the traditional capital of Dhofar, which reached the peak of prosperity in the 13th century thanks to the incense trade. Later it decayed, and in the 19th century it was absorbed by the Sultanate of Muscat. Between 1932 and 1970, Salalah was the capital of the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman under Said bin Taimur. After the latter's death, his son Qaboos decided to move the capital of Oman to Muscat.
The Sultan traditionally lives in Salalah rather than in Muscat, the capital and largest city in Oman; Qaboos has bucked this trend, and has lived in Muscat since he ascended to the throne in 1970. He does, however, visit Salalah fairly regularly to meet with influential tribal and local leaders; his last visit was in 2010 and before that he visited in 2006.
In 2010, during the 40th anniversary of Sultan Qaboos' taking the throne, he decided to spend his time in Salalah. The 40th anniversary celebrations consisted of a massive parade. It lasted several hours and had an estimated 100,000 attendees. In 2011 the city hosted peaceful protests after the domino effect from the Arab Spring which lasted several months. Of the many requests filed from the protesters, some included the expulsion of the current ministers, job opportunities, salary increases, a solution to the increasing cost of living, and the establishment of Islamic banks.
The city has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh), although summers are cooler than in more northern or inland parts of Oman. Salalah is very cloudy during the monsoon months of July and August, even though relatively little rain falls. Khareef means "autumn" in Arabic but it refers to monsoon when describing the region around Salalah. During this time, the brown landscape of Salalah and its surroundings is completely transformed to a beautiful and lush green.
The city, like many other in Arab states of the Arabian peninsula, has a relatively large expatriate community, mainly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Philippines.
The majority of the Omani population in Salalah is Muslim. Like the majority of the Middle East, most people in Salalah follow the Sunni Shafi sect of Islam; unlike the majority of Omanis in Muscat which mostly follow the Ibadhi sect. There is also a considerable population of Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and Sikhs in the expatriate community.
Arabic is the official language and the most spoken one. The unofficial, unwritten language known as Jeballi is the second most spoken language and the mother tongue of many in Salalah and its surrounding areas, with 25,000 estimated speakers as of 1993.
English is the official foreign language and the most spoken language of the expats. Malayalam is another popular language and together with Tamil, Hindi/Urdu it is the most widely spoken language among expatriates.
APM Terminals, part of the A. P. Moller-Maersk Group of Denmark, manages the Port of Salalah; one of the largest ports on the Arabian Peninsula which is an important transshipment hub for container shipping in the area. The Port of Salalah is also one of the most vital ports on the peninsula connecting together Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. But the port is outside the city, to the south. It is also the largest private employer in the Dhofar region. The Salalah Free Zone, situated right beside the port, is emerging as a new center for heavy industries in the Middle East.
Salalah's economy is also based on Tourism. During Khareef season (July to Sept), there are many tourists from Middle East. There are many places to visit in Salalah during this season as the mountains turns green and the rain causes many waterfalls in the mountains mainly Ain Athum, Ain Tubrook, Ain Khor etc. The city received more than 600,000 tourists during khareef season in 2017
Salalah is known as the home of some of the best football clubs in Oman. In total, Salalah has 4 sport clubs based in the city: Salalah Club, Al-Ittihad, Al-Nasr, and Dhofar.
Dhofar F.C. have been nicknamed as "Al-Zaeem", or "The Leaders", due to their enormous success in both the Omani League, and in the Sultan Qaboos Cup. Dhofar have also have an adequate number of trophies in sports like volleyball, and handball. Al-Nasr have also been known for their great success in football, winning the Omani League 5 times, and the Sultan Qaboos Cup 4 times. Al-Nasr, like Dhofar, have also been successful in other sports such as hockey, basketball, volleyball, and handball.
Salalah currently has 2 stadiums, the Salalah Sports Complex (also known as the "Youth Sports Complex"), which is the only multi-purpose stadium in Salalah. The newer, Al-Saadah Stadium is the newly built stadium in Al-Saada district of Salalah devoted to football. Incorporated in the walls of the sports complex apart from the football stadium is a hockey field, tennis court, olympic swimming pool, and indoor volleyball/basketball court. Al-Saada Stadium is the venue where Saudi national football team, and the Omani national team first met in Salalah on August 12, 2009.
The most popular sport played among the youth is by far football. It is very normal to see a group of boys and young men from around the area playing in makeshift fields in parking lots, or in a large open area. Beach football is also a common sight to see along the beach in the Al-Haffa district. Another popular sport in Salalah is volleyball. Although not as popular as football the game is frequently played.
Currently Salalah has two colleges, the Salalah College of Technology and Salalah College of Applied Science, both of which are government owned and sponsored.
The Salalah College of Applied Sciences incorporates an English Department. Its aim is to offer students a solid grasp of the English language so that they may go on to complete further studies in important sectors such as I.T. and Communication and Design.
Salalah is also home to a private university, Dhofar University which is one of the largest in the region. It has significant shares owned by Mustahil Al-Mashani, uncle of Sultan Qaboos bin Said. Recently the university has constructed a new campus worth 25 million OR.
The Indian School Salalah is an Indian-run, self-financing, co-educational institution, primarily established to meet the academic needs of children of Indian expatriates working in Salalah. The Indian School Salalah is the largest English-medium school in Salalah and it also admits children of other nationalities. The school is located in the North Dahariz area, of Salalah town.
Pakistan School Salalah is a Pakistani Co-educational High school which was established in the year 1982. The school is situated adjacent to the Indian School in Salalah Dahariz north.
British School Salalah was founded in 1970. The school follows the National Curriculum of England and Wales, and offers schooling to children from Reception to Year 7. It is also situated in Dahariz next to the Indian School and Pakistani School.
For the main article see: Salalah International Airport
Salalah International Airport mainly caters to domestic flights from Muscat and some International flights from India and regional Arab countries such as Qatar, U.A.E, and Saudi Arabia. Oman Air, the national airline operates 5 flights daily from Salalah to Muscat, the capital city and also 2 flights to Dubai weekly. Oman Air introduced Oman Air Pass for regular travelers between Salalah and Muscat. Qatar Airways has four flights a week from Salalah to Doha connecting to over 130 destinations worldwide since May 2013. Very convenient connections are available to destinations in the Europe, Americas, Africa, Asia and Australia. There is also a direct weekly flight from and to Kochi, Kozhikode (Calicut) & Thiruvananthapuram operated by Air India Express for the Malayalee expatriates. During the Khareef Season (Monsoons) there are weekly flights to other international destinations including Sweden and Turkey. There are also transit flights to almost all countries. The new International airport opened in November 2014 and the old Airport has since then been converted into a Domestic and emergency Airport.
Salalah does not have a public transportation system within the city limits. However long distance air-conditioned buses are operated daily from Salalah to Haima, Muscat, Nizwa, Al-Buraimi, Dubai, Al-Ain, Al-Ghaydah, Mukalla, and Seiyun, as well as PDO locations such as Marmul.
Other forms of other public transport popular in Salalah are taxis. Generally fares vary from half a Rial to 2 Rials depending on the distance to destination. Taxis are color-coded orange and white and provide semi-personal transportation in the form of both individual hire and the same opportunistic roadway service as Baisa buses, which are not as popular in the city.
Baisa buses, also colour-coded orange and white, and like taxis are unmetered after several government initiatives to introduce meters were rejected. The fare is set by way of negotiation, although drivers usually adhere to certain unwritten rules for fares within the city. One should always find out the normally accepted fare for one's journey from one's hotel or host before looking for a taxi.
For the main article see : Port of Salalah
Port of Salalah is one of the deepwater ports in Oman and also 11th busiest transshipment port in the world, second busiest port in middle east, which is located at Port Raysut(Salalah). It can accommodate large vessels up to 18m draft. It is the main Container Tran-shipment Terminal of the region. This port is operated and managed by Salalah Port Services Company (S.A.O.G.). The port also welcomes cruise liners & luxury ships.
The English language radio stations are Hi FM and Merge, which are the only English language stations in Oman. There are also a number of Arabic radio channels. In Salalah almost all TV channels are available.
For the main article see : Project GreenWorld International
Project GreenOman, a project initiated to develop Eco-friendliness in Oman by Mast.Hridith Sudev, a student of Indian School Salalah and his younger brother, Samved Shaji won the World Environment Day Global School Contest conducted by United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development and Ecology & Environment Inc. This success brought glory to Indian School Salalah and this city making Salalah more popular as a green city. In 2014, International Energy Globe Award, Austria declared Project GreenOman as Oman's best project for sustainability.