Salalah is the gateway to the unspoiled beaches of southern Oman and the mountains of Dhofar, which turn lush and green after the summer monsoon rains, the Khareef.
This is a colourful, subtropical city, which in many ways seems more like East Africa than Arabia. Plantations of bananas and papayas give Salalah the feel of Zanzibar, while migrating birds come to the marshy khawrs - lagoons - along the coast in large numbers, making it a haven for bird watching.
Inland is Dhofar, where the resinous sap of the Boswellia sacra tree - or frankincense as it's more commonly known - is still gathered as it was in Biblical times. The precious sap continues to be used in religious rites, while a more modern usage is in aromatherapy.
Salalah differs from Muscat and other parts of Oman, not least during and after the monsoon season, when the rains breathe life into the otherwise arid landscape. It's a time for great celebration, with cool air and mist-clad vistas to admire. The Khareef Festival, in July and August, sees music, cultural programmes, sporting events and exhibitions across the city.