Home to nearly 300 species of birds, many of which arrive in Oman during their biannual migratory flights around the world, the Al Ansab Wetland is a paradise for nature lovers that few have heard of so far, but many will soon know of, given the rapidly growing popularity of the region. Sea-wading birds like the Black Winged Stilt are full-time inhabitants of the wetland, while many species of eagles arrive in Muscat during the winter months, where they migrate into the Sultanate in November, leaving after the cold season is over.
Al Ansab Wetland is a protected area in the centre of Muscat and the dream of an ornithologist,” the Ministry of Tourism said. “With over 80 resident species, over 293 species of birds stop at different times throughout the year. In Al Ansab Wetland, where winter sees the best of plants and trees bloom, colours and fragrance fill the air. The wetland has 113 species of Omani trees and shrubs, the organisation added.
“Since the mid- to late 80s, the wetland has been there but it wasn’t the way it is now. We started to focus more on it since 2011 and made a lot of improvements. It’s all treated water now, so you have no smell in the wetland areas,” said Haya Water CEO Hussain Hassan Abdul Hussain. With the addition of shrubs and trees, we are attracting more birds. Initially, 150 bird species were reported. Now, it is more than 300.”
The Tourism Ministry said there were five lagoons in the wetland, the largest of which had a depth of four metres. “The water also promotes greenery in addition to attracting birds. Naturally, many trees and shrubs are grown.
The wetland is open from Sunday to Thursday from 6:30 a.m. around 2 p.m. Early in the morning, between 6.30 and 9.00 a.m., is the best time to visit the site. In addition, guests can wear comfortable shoes and take with them drinking water.