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Oman - Enviornment

Oman Environment

Oman occupies the eastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, bordered by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the north-west, Saudi Arabia to the west and Yemen to the south-west. At its northernmost point it's just over 50km (30mi) south of Iran across the Strait of Hormuz. Pakistan and India are, respectively, 500km (300mi) and 1000km (600mi) across the Arabian Sea to the east. Oman is slightly smaller than New Zealand or the US state of Kansas, though the part of Oman's border with Saudi Arabia that runs through the Empty Quarter is in dispute, and Oman's exact size isn't known. The Musandem Peninsula forms the country's northern tip, which is separated from the rest of the country by the United Arab Emirates' eastern coast and includes the only coast Oman has on the Persian Gulf. The Omani enclave of Madha is entirely surrounded by the UAE and lies halfway between the Musandem Peninsula and the rest of Oman.

Oman's diverse geography includes rugged coasts, placid beaches, craggy mountains, salt flats, oases and deserts. The northern coastal strip along the Gulf of Oman is known as the Batinah coast, a sand and gravel plain separated from the rest of the country by the Hajar Mountains. The highest peak is Jebel Akhdar ('green mountain') at 2980m (9775ft). Oman also has two large areas of salt flats, one in the central west and another opposite Massirah Island, off the eastern coast, and just south of the popular Wahiba Sands desert area.

Oman has one of the world's most rigourously green governments, and a fascinating array of animals thrives in the protected areas. Sanctuaries have been set aside for rare Arabian oryx, giant sea turtles (which come to Oman to breed), the Arabian tahr (a wild goat which nearly became extinct but is now flourishing), Arabian wolf and leopard, striped hyena and the sooty falcon. The sultan has devoted much attention to the country's plant life: coastal areas are preserved and there are National Protected Areas scattered around the country.

Its varied geography means Oman has a wide variety of climatic conditions. Muscat is hot and humid from mid-March until October and pleasantly warm from October to March. In the southern Salalah area, humid weather with temperatures approaching 30°C (90°F) is common even in December. The Salalah area gets drenched by monsoon rains from June to September.

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