A Life-Time in Arabia
Um-Sami is a British lady who has made Kuwait her home for nearly forty years. She has travelled extensively in Arabia searching for treasures for her Arabian gift company www.caravankw.com and
she will be sharing her stories and experiences with us in a series of articles for Livinq8
One of my most fascinating journeys in Arabia has been to Salalah in southern Oman. Although in Arabia, it has a tropical climate with coconut and banana trees growing along the coast. There are beautiful wadis with fish and water lilies (pic.1) in the pools and spectacular waterfalls which come to life during the annual Khareef season when Salalah catches the Monsoon rains.
Pic 1. Water lilies growing in a Salalah wadi pool
Southern Oman is famous for its Frankincense. The best quality frankincense comes from the Dhofar region where its unique climate nurtures the trees that produce the resin. It is harvested by cutting the bark of the tree (pic.2) which allows the resin to seep out. It is then allowed to dry on the tree where it hardens then these frankincense ‘tears’ (pic. 3) are collected a few weeks later.
Pic 2. cutting of the bark to release Frankincense resin Pic 3. Frankincense tears drying on the tree
Frankincense has been one of the world’s most treasured commodities since the beginning of written history. At its peak, its value rivaled that of gold, the rarest silks and the most precious of gems. Its sister resin Myrrh comes from neighbouring Yemen, harvested in the same way. In ancient times Myrrh was among the most valuable substances known. It was used in the mummification of the Pharaohs in ancient Egypt and processed into oil to anoint kings.
Salalah is the start of the famous Frankincense trail which I was lucky enough to find with the help of a knowledgeable local guide. We found the exact spot where a new highway abruptly stops (pic. 4) and there before you is the ancient Frankincense trail. In future articles I will be sharing more about this ancient trading route.
Pic 4. the modern highway ends and the ancient Frankincense trail is revealed
If you would like to purchase some Frankincense and Myrrh for yourself, you can find them at