Turtle-watching at Ras al Jinz
Ras AI Jinz is a fishing village situated in the Ras AI Hadd Turtle Reserve on the eastern coast line of the Arabian Peninsula. The Oman’s most significant wildlife spectacle: a whole bunch of Green turtles hauling by themself ahead from the ocean to lay their eggs on this isolated Sharqiya beach in Ras Al Jinz.
The Ras AI Jinz beach is now world famous for the nesting of endangered green turtle (Chelonia mydas), probably the most crucial nesting concentration on the Indian Ocean. This is the only destination where the public can view the nesting process of these magnificent sea giants.
Ras Al Jinz – Circle of Life
The Turtle Reserve was set up by Royal Decree in 1996. The Ras AI Jinz Turtle Centre, a complete ecotourism project, was started in 2008 to help preserve the exciting and amazing nesting process of the Green turtles of the marine turtle world.
Whilst the Centre cannot get a handle on the natural threats to marine turtles such as birds, crabs and fish preying on the hatchlings or adult turtles being attacked by sharks or foxes predating on the eggs and hatchlings.
The Reserve, in association with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs try to educate and manage the threats from human beings such as:
• Hunting for turtle meat and shells
• Loss of Natural Habitat
• Disturbance during nesting process
• Littering or pollution on beaches such as throwing plastic bags and bottles, glass bottles, soda cans, tissues, fishing line, rope and so on
• Putting any rubbish into the sea or onto the beach
• Artificial light like flash photography and car lights
• Driving vehicles on beaches
The centre provides well guided excursions every night to watch the turtles and observe the nesting process. All the guides in centre have a dedication to the preservation of the turtle and are well-informed.
The turtle center at Ras al Jinz provides two guided tours, one at 9 pm and one at 4 am, each trip costing 3 OMR (Approx. 8 Dollar) per person. You can go on both tours and chose either to stay at the center which is nice and convenient, but is also very expensive. The hotels are also available outside the centre with less expense.
The guides generally try to show you four stages of turtle nesting: the actual egg laying, the burying, the crawl back, and baby turtles appearing from the sand.