In perfect weather conditions, three experienced kayakers set out from the beach near Kalbuh park (Muttrah) to test out the practicality of following this beautiful stretch of coastline south to the Shangri-La hotel. After passing the first headland we went around the outside of Jazirat Island (so as not to kayak too close to the Palace) but did get a fantastic view of Al Jalaili fort. Shortly after that, we pulled into Cemetery Bay and visited both of the cemeteries.
After paying our respects, we continued along the coast to pass the Capital Yacht Club and then made a quick tour of the Marina Bandar al Rowdha to admire some of the spectacular yachts moored there.
The next sighting was the Al Bustan Palace hotel, which looks very impressive from the sea. After that the route was more exposed as we kayaked round some prominent rocky headlands until we could stop at a beautiful sandy beach through a rocky arch just past Qantab, where we rested and enjoyed our packed lunch.
The final run from Qantab to the Shangri La is the most beautiful stretch, with turquoise water and golden cliffs and beaches. We followed the meandering coastline through the Bandar Jissah area, before taking another rest-stop on a small beach opposite the Oman Dive Centre and finishing off the rest of our lunch.
From there it was a short stretch through the famous Shangri-La archway to the beach. We had discussed in advance with the Shangri- La management and they were most helpful in allowing us to land the kayaks there. Our families joined us at the hotel for a celebratory dinner (and brought our dry clothes).
The total distance paddled was a little over 20km and, including all the stops and sight-seeing, the journey time was approximately 4 1⁄2 hours.
It is a trip for experienced kayakers only as some of the route is quite exposed and the sea can be rough. With special thanks to the management of the Shangri-La hotel for their hospitality and kind permission to arrive by kayak.