Oman may be thought-of as Dubai’s Sleepy neighbor, but as you discover Oman you’ll find a world of dramatic mountain scenery, pure white sand beaches, the warmth of traditional eastern hospitality, ancient ruins and bustling markets where life has remained unchanged for centuries.
It is not completely defaced by shopping malls or high-rise buildings so is low-key, modest and sleekly traditional.
It was another early start and after enjoying the delicious buffet breakfast, we headed off to Wadi Bani Khalid. It took about 4 hours to reach the Wadi itself. Located approximately 270km from Muscat and famous for its natural beauty.
The road networks are very elaborate and well maintained but I feel, the sign boards are not very tourist-friendly. It can get quite confusing. But then again, it is a large country and they are still, in the process of developing their tourism.
From Muscat we head southward on Route 23, from Rusayl Industrial area to Nizwa/Sur. Some of the major cities that follow on this route are :- Fanjah, Bidbid, Al Ahmadi, Ibra Airport, Ibra city, Mudhaireb. There are three fuel stations in Oman, namely, Oman Oil, Al Maha and shell, which line this route at convenient spots.
There is a large area after Ibra, where they have Tourist Desert Camps, I believe, they are similar to Wahiba Sands (which is also on the same route) Since we wanted to make it before Asr Salaat to Wadi Bani Khalid, we could not stop over for a tour at these Camps.
On our way, we saw great crags and slate-colored mountains across a landscape as barren and haunting. Then travelled through rugged landscape before arriving at the palm-filled Wadi Bani Khaled, which is justly famed for its natural beauty. We follow a well-worn path into the heart of this rocky oasis and discover a large pool fed by a natural mountain spring.
( For the aspiring geology bugs out there ~ this is great trip to discover all main elements of the geology of Oman. We saw layered Gabbros and pillow lava form !! )
Wadi Bani Khaled is one of the most popular and most easily accessible wadi(s) in Oman. There is a large designated parking area at the entrance to the wadi and walking paths lead to a large area with pools and spots where it is possible to swim.
In the middle of miles of pristine landscapes, locals and tourists were swimming in clear emerald waters. The Eid holidays had attracted more than a fair share of visitors to the wadi. Many people had been here since morning while some were making their way out but many like us, were still pouring in, probably for an overnight camp since we could see all the overnight camping gear and large cooking utensils/mats being carried.
The tourist services at the wadi are fairly developed, especially when compared to the others we saw. We made our way through the parking lot, along the path to the “developed” area and then clambered over rocks to get to the swimming area.
We spent about an hour there, and it was just divine. The water was totally clear and throwing up dancing reflections on the surrounding rocks, and the little pedicure fish were busy gnawing at our toes..
Wadi(s) are ancient rocky (sometimes dry) river beds that roll down from the mountains with flaring deltas where their rivers spill into the Arabian sea. But many wadi(s) have steep walled canyons high up their mountain flanks which can flash flood with overwhelming force just minutes after a heavy rainfall sweeping away anything that moves. While the remaining stream of water flows constantly, the Wadi is also blessed with boulders that help gather large pools of water along its course.
There also interesting cave formations on this Wadi, the famous of which is Kahf Magal. This place is serious rock climbing and hiking ! ofcourse there were many young local lads who were relentlessly cliff jumping (much to my horror !! )
The boys and DH made their way to the Mukul Caves (Kahr Magal) while I stayed back at the pool and made good use of my camera. The boys were thrilled and exhausted after all the hiking and swimming.
It was nearly dark and we had a long distance of nearly 100km to cover to Sur/Raas Al Hadd and so we started the onward journey bidding farewell to the very pristine landscape of Wadi Bani Khalid.
Hope you had fun going thru this photographic journey.
Linking this beautiful Wadi trip to the following parties :-Sundays Best
Today’s Creative Blog
Tutorials and Tips Tuesday