Oman has many beautiful wadis (canyons) and my absolute favorite is Wadi Shab. Located one hour away from Muscat on the road to Sur, it is easily accessible by car. You don’t need a guide to explore this wadi. Just put on some trainers and pack your swimming suit, you are in for a great adventure.
First, depending on the water level, you will most likely have to take the small boat to cross the river since the trail starts on the right side of the wadi.
It costs 200 Baisa per way (about 0.5 USD/0.4 EUR).
When on the other side, just walk up into the wadi by following the trail. You cannot get lost as the trail is well-marked and you will always meet people to ask if you are unsure.
At some point the “concrete” trail will seem to end. Just keep going deeper in the wadi, you will see the trail soon again. You will have to pass some rocks (thus the trainers) to reach the first water pool after 1 hour of walking (depending on the past rains, it can be at a different place and further in). Put on your swimming suit, keep your trainers on (recommended) and continue your way up. You will have to walk/swim but don’t worry it is an easy way, nothing acrobatic.
Make sure to swim until you reach the end of the pool. There is a surprise awaiting…:)
- The trail, although not difficult, cannot be done with strollers or wheelchairs (rocks). Young children and elderly can do it but take into consideration that it is a rocky terrain and not a flat dirt trail. No flip-flops.
- Clothing : It is a popular place both for tourists and locals. Thus, ladies, you should plan on wearing a covering swimming suit or just put a large tee-shirt onto your bikini.
- Take trainers which you are not afraid to walk with in the water. Better protect your feet from sharp rocks. It can ruin your holidays.
- Try to not take with you any valuable items or make sure to put them in a waterproof pocket as you will have to swim to reach the end of the wadi and see the final surprise (you cannot miss it!).
- Take a least 1,5L of water.
If it is raining or will start raining, do not attempt this hike. Wadis (canyons) have been carved by water.. It can be flash-flooded.
To get there
You will need a car. As the entrance of the wadi is very close to the highway, there is no need for a 4×4. The hardest part is to go out on the right road from Muscat since there are a lot of construction work happening and the maps are not alway updated. Just try to follow the direction of Sur. Once on the highway, just look for the “Wadi Shab” exit (not the hotel!), follow it and 500m later, here you are! Park under the highway bridge.
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