Why go? Members of the RAF once based on Masirah dubbed it Fantasy Island – though not because of its wonders, but because getting anything you wanted while stationed here was pure fantasy. Still, the lack of development that frustrated expats will excite travellers: this hilly outcrop of sand and palm trees is one big natural oasis. Birds, including flamingos and oystercatchers, flock beaches strewn with rare shells and the wrecks of salt-encrusted dhows. However, turtles are the main draw – four species come here to nest throughout the year, including one of the world’s largest populations of loggerheads, numbering around 30,000.
When to go: The weather is cooler and less humid November-April. Green turtles nest July-October and hatch September-December. Loggerheads nest May-September and hatch July-November. Olive ridleys and hawksbills nest February-May and hatch April-August.
How to go: Ferries leave from Shana’a (5-6hr drive south of Muscat); the crossing to Hilf, Masirah’s main town, takes from 1.5hrs.