With its command of the bay sadly diminished since Lulu supermarket was built on the reclaimed land opposite, Khasab Fort nonetheless cuts quite a dash with its four stone turrets and fine crenelations. Built by the Portuguese in the 17th century around a much older circular tower, this well-preserved fort now houses one of the best little ethnographic museums in Oman. The central tower displays the peninsula’s flora and fauna and a video highlighting the famous sea chants of local fishermen.
Allow an hour to do a visiting justice and to explore the bait al qufl, literally the ‘house of locks’, built by a master craftsman in the courtyard. Typical of the region, these houses were built with a floor well below ground level – one of several features keeping the house safe during the empty summer months when the occupants moved to the shore to fish and harvest dates. You can see remnants of these houses in Rawdah Bowl, a two-hour off-road drive through the mountains. Also on display is ‘arish, a summer house built on stilts to allow for ventilation in the sweltering summer months.
Khasab is a good place for a swim. Bassa Beach is a walk away from the ferry terminal but has a lovely sandy beach with palm umbrellas (and toilets). Wild camping is permissible here and beautiful shells often wash up at the tent flaps when the weather is rough. Follow the road from the port towards Bukha for 2km or so. Don’t be alarmed by the 1.8m sharks that often circle in the shallow bays near Khasab – apparently, they’re not interested in human flesh.
Buried in the heart of town (brown signs show the way), this small fortified house sports two cannons at the doorway, a renovated well in the courtyard and giant oyster shells in one of the rooms. It’s underwhelming after Khasab Fort but worth a pause during a walk or drives around town.