Oman encompasses 11 Governorates (Muhafazah).

Each Governorate includes several provinces (Wilayats).

Musandam

The Governorate of Musandam, located in the extreme north of the Sultanate faces the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. 

Musandam is separated from the rest of the Sultanate by a strip of United Arab Emirates’ land. It covers approximately 1,800 square kilometres with a population of 42,854 (2016 census), making it the smallest region in Oman in terms of area and population. The main town is Khasab.

Musandam is distinguished not only by its strategic location, but also by its dramatic scenery. It is known as the “Norway of Arabia” thanks to its picturesque fjords.

The Governorate contains the following four Wilayats:

Khasab
Bukha
Dibba
Madha

Al Buraimi

Buraimi Governorate lies on the border of Oman and the United Arab Emirates. It is distinguished by significant historical monuments such as forts and other archaeologically important sites.

The Governorate features ancient water channels built for irrigation, known as Aflaj or Falaj. It also features extensive sandy deserts and natural grasslands.

According to the official census, published in May 2016, the population of Al Buraimi Governate was 107,484.

The Governorate contains the following three Wilayats:

Al Buraimi
Al Sunaynah
Mahdah

Al Batinah North

Al Batinah North occupies a vital geographical location on the northern coast of the Sultanate, overlooking the Sea of Oman. Situated about 200 kilometres from the capital Muscat, Sohar is the regional centre for the Governorate.

Sohar is an ancient port city, known for the production and export of copper. It is also famous for being the birthplace of Sinbad the sailor.

Today Sohar is one of Oman’s main industrial hubs with a Freezone, a major seaport and an airport.

Al Batinah North and South were created 28 October 2011 by dividing the old Al Batinah province. Together the two provinces, cover approximately 12,500 square kilometres, with a combined population 1,115,751 (2016 census) making it the second largest populated region in Oman after Muscat.

The two provinces lie between the Al Hajar Mountains in the west and the Sea of Oman in the east. Together they are known as the ‘belly’ of Oman due to the fertility of the land. 

Al Batinah North contains the following six Wilayats:

Sohar
Al Khabourah
Al Suwaiq
Liwa
Saham
Shinas

Al Batinah South

Al Batinah South, like Al Batinha North, is located on the north coast of the Sultanate of Oman, overlooking the Sea of Oman. Al Rustaq is the centre of the Governorate and is where the founder of the Albusaid dynasty, Imam Ahmad bin Said, was laid to rest. 

Al Rustaq is a former capital of Oman and is well known for its forts and castles (e.g. Al Hazm Fort and Al Rustaq Castle) and hot springs.

The Wilayat of Barka is noted for the beauty of its coast, with a natural environment that provides a habitat for the many birds and turtles found on the islands of this province.

According to the official census, published in May 2016, the population of Al Batinah South was 396,442.

The Governorate contains the following six Wilayats:

Al Rustaq
Al Awabi
Al Musannah
Barka
Nakhal
Wadi Al Ma’awil

Muscat

Muscat was established as the capital of the Sultanate of Oman in 1793. The metropolitan area (Muscat Governorate) spans 3,500 square kilometres and includes six provinces (Wilayats) with a population of 2,395,412 (2016 census).

The city lies along the Sea of Oman, and from the 1st century CE onwards it established itself as an important trading port between the West and the East, attracting foreign traders and settlers, so growing into a cosmopolitan city with a diverse mix of cultures and interactions.

Following the ascension of His late Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said in 1970, Muscat experienced rapid infrastructural development that led to the growth of a vibrant economy and a multi-ethnic society, making it Oman’s largest city and its political, economic and cultural centre. It has also won numerous awards for the cleanest Arab city. 

Muscat offers much to the visitor; historic sites, modern landmarks, shopping malls, fine restaurants, luxury hotels – all laid out against the dramatic backdrop of the western Al Hajar Mountains that dominate the landscape of the capital.

For more on tourism opportunities in Muscat please click here.

The Governorate of Muscat contains the following six Wilayats:

Muscat

Founded 900 years ago, this Wilayat has a long history. Muscat Governorate includes the old city of Muscat.

Al Amirat

Al Amirat lies in the mountains that separate Oman’s interior from the coast. It features archaeological landmarks, including ancient canals for irrigation.

A’Seeb

Seeb is the largest Wilayat in the Governorate of Muscat. Situated to the north of the governorate, it is a flat, coastal area, known for its fishing.

Boushar

This Wilayat includes Al Khuwair, an important administrative area and home to many of the Sultanate’s major ministries, agencies and embassies.

Matrah

Matrah is one of the most important historical cities of Oman as it goes back to the third millennium BC. The Wilayat is known for its traditional market, locally known as Matrah Souq.

Qurayyat

This Wilayat is a coastal district located 100 kilometres south east from the capital Muscat on the road towards Sur.

A’Dhahirah

A’Dhahirah Governorate is located in the north-western part of Oman. It is a semi-desert region, descending from the southern slopes of the western Al Hajar Mountains, and stretching towards the Empty Quarter desert region.

A’Dhahirah Governorate is located in the north-western part of Oman. It is a semi-desert region, descending from the southern slopes of the western Al Hajar Mountains, and stretching towards the Empty Quarter desert region.

The Governorate was, and still is, an important crossing point between Oman and the Arabian Peninsula. The name of Ibri, one of the Wilayats in the Governorate, is derived from the word ‘cross’ or ‘transit’.

The Wilayat of Ibri also includes important archaeological landmarks such as the World Heritage site at Bat, which provides proof of human habitation in Oman as early as the third millennium BCE.

According to the official census, published in May 2016, the population of Al Dhahirah was 201,843.

The Governorate contains the following three Wilayats:

Ibri
Dhank
Yankul

A’Dakhiliya

Situated in the heart of Oman’s interior, A’Dakhiliya Governorate dominates the central plateau and is rich in history, thanks to its role as the land link to the interior regions of Oman from Muscat.

A’Dakhiliya borders Muscat to the north, A’Sharqiyah to the east, A’Dhahirah and Al Batinah to the west and Al Wusta to the south.

It spans approximately 31,900 square kilometres and includes 8 provinces (Wilayats) with a population of 436,458 (2016 census).

With an abundance of dramatic scenery and miraculous natural beauty, including the soaring mountains of the Jabal Al Akhdar and Jabal Shams, as well as the many caves, springs and valleys found in the area, A’Dakhiliya offers visitors a unique experience.

Historically, A’Dakhiliya was known for centuries as a centre of thought and learning. Also known for its traditional handcrafts, this governate is home to many of Oman’s historic forts and castles as well as the historic traditional irrigation systems known as Aflaj.

Nizwa is the centre of A’Dakhiliya and was the capital of Oman for hundreds of years. It is famous for its ancient round fort and traditional market.

The neighbouring city of Bahla is believed to have been one of the locations for the earliest human habitation in the Sultanate.

Bahla is also known for its pottery-making heritage and is famous for its mediaeval fort, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage monument, as well as the renowned Castle of Jabrin.

The Governorate contains the following eight Wilayats:

Nizwa
Adam
Al Hamra
Bahla
Bid Bid
Izki
Manah
Samail

A’Sharqiyah North

A’Sharqiyah North and A’Sharqiyah South were formed on 28 October 2011 by dividing the old province of A’Sharqiyah – famous for the magnificent Sharqiyah Sands, an area of desert and dunes whose iconic landscapes make it a popular tourism destination.

Together A’Sharqiyah North and South cover approximately 36,800 square kilometres, with a population of 556,053 (2016 census) making this the third most populated region in Oman.

The A’Sharqiyah region is in the north east of Oman, part of it overlooking the Arabian Sea from the east.

Thanks to its sands, the Sharqiya region is famous for camel breeding and Bedouin life. It offers scenic mountains and valleys with spectacular cliffs, springs, beaches and coral reefs and caves, as well as historic forts and castles, and archaeological sites.

Al Sharqiyah is also the place to visit the breeding ground of the endangered green sea turtle at the beach sanctuaries of Ras al Hadd and Ras al-Jinz.

Tourists also come to visit the Aflaj or Falaj, ancient water channels built for irrigation and the many caves (e.g. Abu Habban) located in various Wilayats.

Ibra is the main province of A’Sharqiyah North. In Bidiya Wilayat, camel and horse races are held at the end of each week.

According to the official census, published in May 2016, the population of Al Sharqiyah North was 262,437.

The Governorate contains the following six Wilayats:

Ibra
Bidiya
Al Kabil
Al Mudhaibi
Dima W’attayeen
Wadi Bani Khalid

A’Sharqiyah South

A’Sharqiyah South Governorate lies on the south-eastern coastline of the Sultanate of Oman. It has been a centre for maritime trade and fishing for many centuries.

The ancient city of Sur is the administrative capital of this Governorate and remains a centre for traditional boat building. A’Sharqiyah South is a popular tourist destination with many visitors to the beach at Ras Al Hadd, where they can watch sea turtles coming onto the shore to lay their eggs in the sand.

The Governorate of Sharqiya South includes Masirah Island, a notable attraction thanks to its beaches, springs and ancient forts. Around it are a number of other islands which in the past made it a resting place for ships anchored off its shores. Alexander the Great made it his base, naming it Serepsis.

According to the official census, published in May 2016, the population of A’Sharqiyah South was 293,616.

The Governorate contains the following five Wilayats:

Sur
Al Kamil W’al Wafi
Jaalan Bani Bu Ali
Jaalan Bani Bu Hassan
Masirah

Al Wusta

Al Wusta Governorate occupies an extensive area in central Oman, linking the north of the Sultanate with Dhofar in the South. This governorate contains a large number of oil and gas wells.

Al Wusta is located to the South of A’Dakhliah and A’Dhahirah Governorates. In the East it has a long coastline along Arabian Sea, while in the West lies the Empty Quarter. In the South it borders the Governorate of Dhofar.

Designated in 1991 as a Governorate, it covers approximately 79,700 square kilometres) making it the second largest region in Oman in terms of area.

Al Wusta is famous for its fishing, magnificent Empty Quarter sands and Bedouin culture that thrives there. Hayma, located on the Muscat-Salalah highway that links the north of’ Oman with the south, is the centre of the Governorate. It is a desert area peopled by migrating Bedouins.

Hayma is also famous for its wild animals, especially the Arabian Oryx found at the 25,000-square-kilometre sanctuary, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The other three provinces are situated on the coast overlooking the Arabian Sea. They have spectacular beaches and fishing villages making them a great place for whale and dolphin watching.

Among them is Al Duqm province which is being transformed from a small fishing settlement to a major industrial port.

According to the official census, published in May 2016, the population of Al Wusta was 43,350.

The Governorate contains the following four Wilayats:

Haima
Al Jazer
Duqm
Mahout

Dhofar

The Governorate of Dhofar is in the far South of the Sultanate and borders the Wusta Governorate to the East, the Arabian Sea to the South, the Republic of Yemen to the West and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the North and North-West.

It spans approximately 99,300 square kilometres and includes 10 provinces (Wilayats) with a population of 420,836 (2016 census), making it the largest region in Oman.

Dhofar is famous for its lush green landscape, fresh-water springs and waterfalls, and its tropical climate during the monsoon season. The region is the best place to see the country’s famous frankincense tree.

Dhofar’s provinces are places of great historical interest with many ancient tombs, historical ports and archaeological sites. It includes spectacular mountains, plains, and coastal cities and towns, as well as the dunes of the Empty Quarter.

Salalah, Oman’s second largest city is 1,040 kilometres from Muscat and is the main province of Dhofar. It encapsulates Dhofar’s glorious past and present-day splendour, offering visitors a unique opportunity to experience its rich culture and heritage. It is also an expanding industrial port city. Salalah is the birthplace of the founder of modern Oman, His late Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

The Governorate contains the following ten Wilayats :

Salalah
Al Mazyona
Dhalkut
Mirbat
Muqshin
Rakhyut
Sadah
Shalim and the Hallaniyat Islands
Taqah
Thumrait