Turtles laying and hatching at Ras Al Jinz

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
5
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
0
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
1
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
0
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
3
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
5
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
27 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
Middle East
country
Oman
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 15
Time of year visited
November
Primary Tags
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All Tags
RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
346th/359 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Bottom 10% SUMMARY RATING: Gash

Summary

Ras Al Jinz is a beach and wildlife centre that is at the far eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula and is an important protected site for the Green Turtle species to lay their eggs.  What these turtles go through in their migrations and nesting techniques to secure the next generation is truly mind-blowing, and in seeing the small hatchlings making their way back to the ocean at such a small size next to the giant mothers is actually quite emotional . . .

 

. . . but the problem with this experience is how it is managed, which feels like all the bad aspects of mass tourism.  You’re grouped with fellow tourists all at the same time around 9pm (there were around 5 groups of 25 when I visited) all walk the 20mins to the beach together; all wait right near each other to approach a turtle; all stumble around in the dark not quite knowing where you are going for around 30mins; and then all walk back 20mins to the visitor centre.  The format wouldn’t be so bad if the guides had a bit of passion because tourists understand the restrictions of no light and the need to not disturb the turtles, but they all tend to have that more-bothered-about-their-mobile-phone-and-guests-are-a-bit-of-a-nuisance attitude that is unfortunately all too common in the Middle East

 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s quite funny as you collectively laugh at how silly the whole thing is.  And, you do get to see glimpses of the turtles digging themselves in, laying eggs and hatchlings at this time of year.  But its just not worth the long drive there.  Your time could be far better spent in the wonderful red deserts or mountains of Oman

 

If determined to go, I would advise staying at the Turtle Guest House rather than the Turtle Reserve.  30% of the price, nice enough and they also organise your tour for you

highlights

#1 Seeing the giant green turtle mums digging the perfect hole with her large flipper swings . . . and nailing the tourists with the sand

#2 Getting glimpse of the turtle eggs, and hoping some of theme make it to the nearby ocean in 6 weeks time

#3 Driving through the desert - there isn't much around Ras Al Jinz, so its quite cool driving

#4 Feeling a bit like you're in the red deserts of Star Wars on the entrance to the Reserve

Experiences nearby

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Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone