Must Do: Sea Turtle Spotting at Ras Al Jinz in Oman

Ras Al Jinz is the birthplace of millions of sea turtles. The beaches of Ras Al Jinz are the largest nesting site for sea turtles in the Indian Ocean. During the night, female turtles come ashore in large numbers to lay their eggs. Oman is possibly the best place in the world to spot green sea turtles. The chances of encountering a turtle or baby turtle here are almost 100%. It’s truly awe-inspiring to witness these remarkable creatures up close. In this article, you’ll read about our tips and experiences for turtle spotting in Oman.

About the Green Seaturtle

For thousands of years, approximately 20,000 turtles each year have been laying their eggs on the beaches of Ras Al Jinz. Remarkably, the females always return to the very beach where they were born. To achieve this, they often swim thousands of miles, yet they manage to find their way back with astonishing precision. Once they reach the beach, they must find a suitable spot to dig a hole as deep as one meter (3 feet), in which they will lay around 100 eggs at a time. This is the only moment they leave the water. After carefully placing all the eggs in the hole, the exhausted female covers it up and heads back to the sea. She doesn’t stay with her unborn offspring as she cannot keep them warm; that’s the role of the sand, heated by the sun. The temperature of the sand will ultimately determine whether the turtle hatchlings will be male or female.

About 60 days later, the tiny turtle hatchlings emerge from their eggs, and without their mother’s guidance, they embark on a perilous journey towards the sea. This is a significant challenge for the baby turtles, as they are highly vulnerable to birds, crabs, and predatory fish. As a result, only a small percentage of hatchlings survive. Those sea turtles that do survive can live up to 100 years.

Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve

Unfortunately, the Green Sea Turtles are an endangered species. To protect these remarkable creatures, the Omani government has implemented strict regulations. The Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve is the official turtle sanctuary and diligently adheres to these rules. We highly recommend joining their guided tour to observe the turtles responsibly.

During the tour, you’ll be part of a group of a maximum of 25 people searching for the turtles. It’s essential to maintain silence during the tour to avoid disturbing the animals. Additionally, taking photos with flash is strictly prohibited, as the bright light can startle the turtles and cause them to return to the sea. Please ensure your flash is turned off.

The guide will use a red lamp during the tour since the turtles might mistake a white light for the moon and become disoriented. Before embarking on the tour, your guide will provide you with a wealth of information about these fascinating creatures. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn more about and appreciate the conservation efforts to protect the Green Sea Turtles.

How to choose between the evening and morning tour?

The turtles rarely appear on the beach during the daytime. Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve offers both evening and morning tours. The evening tour starts around 9:00 PM, while the morning tour begins around 5:00 AM. We had the opportunity to experience both tours. During the evening tour, we were among four groups of 25 people, while the morning tour had only two of us and one other traveler. Personally, we didn’t feel entirely comfortable with such a large crowd on the beach observing the turtles. Although the groups rotate, and you’ll be watching with a maximum of 25 people, it still felt a bit overwhelming for us. While the turtles will continue laying their eggs once they start, it’s more about the overall experience.

Additionally, the morning tour is exceptionally beautiful as you get to witness the breathtaking sunrise. It does require getting up early, but the extraordinary moment makes it absolutely worthwhile. The intimate and serene setting during the morning tour made it a much more cherished experience for us. So, if you have the chance, we highly recommend the morning tour for the exceptional and memorable encounter with the Green Sea Turtles.

An overnight stay at Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve

At Ras Al Jinz, you’ll find two accommodation options. During our visit to Ras Al Jinz, we stayed at the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve. While it may not be the most charming hotel, we had a comfortable stay there. The rooms were spacious with a nice shower and good air conditioning. The stay includes both the morning and evening tours for two people, along with a delicious and extensive breakfast buffet.

During the day, you can independently access the beautiful private beach, and with a bit of luck, you might spot the majestic turtles resting in the shallows. They patiently wait there until nightfall when they start laying their eggs. If Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve is fully booked or you’re looking for something more budget-friendly, Ras Al Jinz Turtle Guest House is an excellent alternative. This guesthouse is located right across from the Turtle Reserve, and you can easily arrange your tour at Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve. Both options offer proximity to the enchanting world of the Green Sea Turtles, ensuring an unforgettable experience.