Masirah Island is a deserted paradise which is equal to total relaxation, in a quiet world of its own. Forget about crowds, stress or traffic, Masirah will give you the chance to walk on a beach that will feel like it is only yours. To make it clear, this is not an offroad track, but it still gives you the chance for some mountain and beach driving, maybe even some dune bashing if you really want to try it in Wahiba Sands.
Road to Masirah
However, I recommend something else for the people who want to be early in Shannah. Drive all the way to Shannah and camp on the beach there or stay a night in Shannah Port hotel, which nobody knew exists at the moment when I planned the trip to Masirah. This hotel does not show up on Internet, but I managed to get the phone of the guy in reception: 71077923.
So, the way to Masirah is easy, once you have the plan properly prepared. Just drive to Sur and then to Ashkharah and Shannah, to take the ferry. There is also another way possible, if you follow the inland route to Duqm and then take left to Shannah.
On the Island
The ferry will take you to Dhuwwah, the largest village from the island. Here you can find few hotel and few larger shops where you can top up your provisions. After that head south and follow the road towards Sur Masirah and take your time to explore the beautiful, yet deserted beaches of the island. The best was the one in Sur Masirah beach camp, where we actually stayed over the night as well. There are some very good spots in the south-west area. I recommend to make the full circle and go south and then return on the side with the Indian Ocean, where you will find some really big surfing waves. In Hiql you can stop and explore the seashore and find the remains of an old dhow boat. The wreck was much more visible few years ago, but the storm from 2015 covered it more. Pay attention that Google Maps is a bit outdated with regards to the Eastern Coast roads (some roads from Maps are actually missing), so be careful. Take your time and do some beach driving, particularly on the Eastern Coast where you can also take some beautiful pictures with the big surfer waves in the background.
As a side note, on the way from Ashkhrah to Shannah you will have the chance to do some desert driving, if you will abandon the paved road for more adventure. Also the last few kilometers before Shannah will give you the chance to drive on sabkha soil, if you are brave enough.
What to do
On this trip you can see pretty nice views: Wahiba Sands, sabkha salty soils and the charming yet quite beaches of Masirah. Being more like a deserted island with a very small population, Masirah excels in natural attractions. You can find many turtles and turtle nests on the beautiful beaches and there is as well plenty of fish to be caught and grilled. However, it is very difficult to find fish to buy, as most of the locals are contracted to sell it exclusively to companies. Don't look for restaurants as well and come prepared to deal with food on your own.
The famous wreck from Hiql is mostly covered in sand by now, but you can still explore the beach to find the leftovers.
One big bonus for the island is that during the summer it is affected by Khareef. This means that weather is mostly cloudy and the temperature will be considerably lower than in Muscat (maximum bellow 35 degrees).
Overall: This is an amazing trip if you look for total relaxation and if you want to forget about cities and crowded places. As a bonus, during the summer the place is cooler than northern area of Oman, thanks to the khareef monsoon.