Sultan's Armed Forces Museum (SAF Museum)
Inaugurated in 1988 by Oman’s then ruler and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Sultan Qaboos; the SAF Museum occupies the whitewashed Bait Al-Falaj Fort—a crenelated outpost built in 1845 that once served as the headquarters of the country’s armed forces. The museum extends across the 2-story fort and gardens; and encompasses galleries tracing Oman’s Islamic history, Portuguese occupation, and 20th-century military advancement.
Visitors pay an admission fee to explore independently or via a house tour. Trace the emergence of Oman’s modern-day forces and royal guard under Sultan Qaboos; view military dioramas, study medals; and stroll outside to see the assorted army, air force and naval vehicles. Alternatively, book a Muscat tour that combines a museum stop-off with the city’s other attractions, plus convenient return transport and hotel pickup and drop-off.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Allow about 1.5 hours to explore.
- The ground floor and outdoor areas are mostly wheelchair- and stroller-accessible.
- The exhibits are captioned with explanations in English and Arabic.
- On-site facilities include a restroom at the main entrance.
- Bring bottled water and a sunhat for exploring the outdoor areas.
How to Get There
The SAF Museum lies just off Bait Al-Falaj Street north of Ruwi, Muscat’s main business district. Local public transit is limited, with the nearest bus stop some distance away, so make things easy by taking a cab or sightseeing tour that includes transport to the museum. If you’re driving, follow Muscat’s Route 1 highway eastward to Bait Al-Falaj Street and take the exit to the museum via Al Burj Street.
When to Get There
The SAF Museum is open every morning from Sunday to Thursday, and during the morning and afternoon, with a lunch break, on Saturdays. Contact the museum directly to check opening hours and any holiday closures. The museum is rarely crowded, so expect a quiet atmosphere whenever you visit.
Must-See Exhibits at the SAF Museum
The SAF Museum includes many unexpected items that widen its appeal beyond just military buffs. History enthusiasts will appreciate the detailed charting of Oman’s 1970-1975 campaign against Dhofar’s communist rebels; while the outdoor displays will have broad appeal. Highlights here include a bulletproof royal Cadillac, and a military patrol boat, fighter jet, helicopter, and tanks.
- Old Muscat
- Bait Al Baranda
- Muttrah Souq (Mutrah Souk)
- Muttrah Corniche
- Muscat Cruise Port
- Bait Al Zubair Museum
- Al Alam Palace (Sultan's Palace)
- Al Mirani Fort
- Al Jalali Fort
- Royal Opera House
- Qurum Beach
- Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
- Amouage Factory and Visitors’ Centre
- Wadi Bani Khalid
- Wahiba Sands (Sharqiyah Sands)