London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
On our 8th day in Oman, we headed to Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve and broke the 4.5 hours roadtrip from Alila Jabal Akhdar in Sur. Turtles in Oman have been one of the highlights of this trip and if you like them as much as we do, this Turtle Reserve Oman should be part of your itinerary.
Luxury eco glamping is the way to go in here and make sure you book a family tent well in advance as it’s just 3 of them.
Ras al jinz is a once in a lifetime experience seeing turtles laying eggs at moonlight, heading back to the sea plus babies just hatched finding their way at night or at sunrise. And what a difference between a 150kg mother turtle and the fragile tiny babies! Speed, size, confidence and vulnerability could not be more different!
The nature is exposed in here at its best, beautiful and its cruelest. At night we witnessed the huge turtles laying eggs at moonlight. They are into a trance and laborious work: digging holes, laying the eggs, burying them in the sand. It takes about 50 days to hatch and turtle mums and baby turtles will not meet again. There will be also baby turtles hatching and going back to the sea, a perilous journey between the beach filled with huge hungry crabs, birds, foxes. I came back at 4:30am in the morning to witness some more, at this hour the huge turtles are returning back to the sea after an exhausting laying eggs trip and babies who hatched slightly later or got lost are trying to find the sea and avoid the predators.It’s been so emotional to help 3 babies on their way to the water – fragile and tiny, cute and so exposed. Especially emotional as you’ll equally find lots of tiny shells on the beach that didn’t make it and have been eaten or injured deadly. A huge contrast to the huge green turtles of Oman heading back to the sea surreally slowly and beautifully in the sunrise colours.
Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve centre has some good educational content and I found the tours whilst busy, relatively well managed. They will be reinforcing advice and guidance from the beginning in terms of whispering at the beach and no loud talking, staying in groups keeping lights off the mother turtles and babies, never between their way to the see, not touching etc.
Turtles laying eggs and in need of privacy and whispering do not go well with our young easily overexcited unpredictable toddler. The 5 years old joined me in the evening and luckily Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve guests have priority and start earlier. Tears in his eyes just like me, he soaked up the privileged experience and was beyond wise around the mother turtles and the babies! We wrapped up the tour about 11pm and on our way back to our glamping base we staired at the huge full moon and stars – an unforgettable evening!
To wake up in less than 5 hours proved too much of a challenge for him, so I embarked on the 4:30am journey by myself, leaving all 3 boys sleeping and meeting them again at early breakfast.
Temperatures get incredibly high quickly in the morning, by 10:30 our car thermometer already showed 30 degrees (and that’s late October!). By 11am we were fully packed and ready for our next adventures, Kempinski Muscat with a Wadi Shab stop. So if you or the kiddies like to enjoy longer the eco glamping tents, we suggest you arrive 4pm rather than 7pm as we’ve done.
A shorter stop in Sur would have been probably better, especially that the walk in the beach and kids playground left us a bitter taste seeing so much garbage spread around. Whilst infrastructure in Oman is in a good state and Sur pedestrian sides feature marble, surely there’s more education to be done, proper waste management and recycling on day to day basis.
In our past travels we came across other turtles, but never in such meaningful context. We’ve been very lucky to see them Praia do Forte reserve in Brazil, 30min drive from Salvador; Seychelles diving and on land; Maui Hawaii by the beach and the shallow shores even when swimming; Nevis by Four Seasons lovely beach; Egypt and Maldives whilst diving.
But the green turtles in Oman and the encounters in here truly spoilt us, first the sailing daytrip at the beautiful Al Kieran bay : bare mountains and crystal turquoise waters, filled with dolphins, snorkelling huge green turtles and colourful fish.
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And then Ras Al Jinz Centre, left us feeling enriched and blessed – one memorable dusk, evening and sunrise, unforgettable setting, company and circumstances.
Happy World #Turtle day, article wrapped up just in time on May 23rd ! For more wildlife adventures and best places to see turtles ,check our articles on our 10 favourite places worldwide.