View Full Version : My weekend Trip!!!
25th October 2003, 12:27 AM
What a weekend I had, it all started with a simple idea to have a good time in Sawadi Beach Resort. We left Muscat at On Thursday at 9:30 AM having packing couple of sandwiches and chicken drums for the way. We arrived Sawadi Beach resort 45 minutes later. I was hoping my one night stay at the resort would be confirmed by the time I get there as I was put in the waiting list, but unfortunately it was still full by the time we were there. Hence the disappointment, but nevertheless the kids enjoyed swimming and I took the sand bike and had it a whirl on it around the beach for 15 minutes, I thought it was enough especially after paying three Rials for that period!!!.
Anyway, at one PM, we decided to go back to Muscat, as the heat was catching on us, its only on the way back at Barka Round about, I told my wife that we should visit Nakhal as it was too early to go back. She went ahead with the Idea and off we went and took a right turn at Barka Roundabout towards Nakhal, at the point we HAD NO IDEA THAT WE WERE ABOUT TO EMBARK ONE OF THE MOST ADVENTUROUS AND DANGEROUS TRIP OF OUR LIVES
Its about 30km from the round about to Nakhal City, my wife told me that she remembered that there was some sort of hot spring in the city and she was confused between the KASFA hot spring and the THAWRA hot spring. Only later we discovered the latter one was actually located in Rustaq and the former one was located in Nakhal itself, anyway 30KM later we arrived Nakhal City and headed straight to Thawra Hot spring (Picture One). For those of you who never or went there long time ago, you will notice some development has been made at the spring location, it was made rather more tourist attraction place, with seats and steps and and what not, it was nice place to be, fantastic place for family picnic, and NO 4WD required to get there, and a must place to visit to sense the true beauty of Nakhal.
By that time it was 2PM and the hunger stroked, so we left Nakhal city and took a left turn towards Rustaq, the Idea was to find a restaurant somewhere in the middle, have our lunch and back home, however, at this BP petrol station we met this awesome dude who started talk about the beauty of WADI BANI AWF!!!. He kept on saying that with WADI BANI AWF, you can pass it and actually end up in Nizwa. So I thought what the hell, its two PM and I should be in Nizwa and Muscat before DARK more or less BOY WAS I WRONG!!!!!!!!
PICTURE ONE (THAWRA HOT SPRING(AIN AL THAWRA) IN NAKHAL)
25th October 2003, 12:51 AM
So we had our lunch made at this restaurant near the BP and took it with us so we could eat it somewhere towards Wadi Bani AWF. From Nakhal its about 45 KM to the left turn towards Wadi Bani Awf, through out you will pass by AlMahalleel and a left turn towards Wadi Bani Kharus which is about 38 KM from Nakhal
Anyway, once we arrived to that left turn towards Wadi Bani Awf, the road was bumby from the very beginning and sorry, but a 4WD is must from this point onward, unless you have a death wish written all over you!. Man, I donít think I can describe the beauty of this wadi, nor I think I can even start to mention the excitement my family and I had while passing this amazing place. We passed through a narrow canyon with steep-sided cliffs. The water flows along the canyon floor was itself breath taking. The Beduins on the way were very friendly and helpful, not a single person we passed by who didnít give us a smile as a sign of welcoming!.
About like 8KM towards the narrow canyon, the road started to spread out, at that point we saw a sign, to the right would be entering WADI SAHTAN and to the left would be Going to Bilad Sait and AlHamra. So obviously I took the left side as I was heading to Al-Hamra which was on the way towards Nizwa. At that point the road started to narrow again and I could read my meter saying that I was about 900m above sea level, 10km later I was 2500m about sea level. YES I was climbing a mountain with a very steep narrow roads just enough to fit a landrcruise. My wife was reciting Quran from that point onwards, and I being the man I was acting as if everything was ok, but deep inside of my I was scared ****tless. It was only the FANTASTIC AWOSOME VIEW THAT KEPT US GOING (Picture Two). You know the thing is, and I am still wondering until this very moment what if we encountered an incoming car from the otherside how one earth we would have managed to let the car pass, there was no way to turn around, or even to stay aside for a car to pass by, there road was only spreading every 3KM or so other than it was just enough to fit ONE CAR.
Picture TWO somewhere on at the top of some mountain from Wadi Bani Awf toward Al Hamra
25th October 2003, 01:03 AM
BWT the meter reads 2800m above sea level now, and I saw this awesome view and I thought I shouldnít let it go, I had to take a photo of it, it was some sort of a big hole inside a mountain, maybe it was some sort of cave (PICTURE THREE), later on we arrived to this T Junction where we had to decide to take a left or a right turn, a life decision that could mean life or death, because for one, my petrol tank was emptying and yes IT WAS GETTING DARK (5PM). Luckily there was this other 4WD that lead us to the right direction. With the excitement mixed with fear, we totally forgot to eat our lunch, at that point it was dark, so we thought whatís the point continuing and try to get to AlHamra before dark, so we decided to camp somewhere at the top of that mountain, and I mean very top and it was freezing to death, something like 10 degree Celsius, so we stopped and ate, and I must say it was the most delicious lunch I had in years and I am sure my family will second that!
On the full lights and off we continued our journey climbing up and down the mountains, scary and yet beautiful feeling. It was pitch black by that time something around 6:30 PM, but hey we managed to arrive Al-Hamra finally and we headed towards Nizwa where we decided to spend a night at Nizwa Hotel. Luckily they had this Ramdhan offer, 20 Rials for a double room with breakfast. That night my family and I slept like babies, only to discover the next day we hadnít enough adventure and we had to embark a different one towards WADI TANUF IN NIZWA
Picture three Some View of a hole inside
25th October 2003, 01:26 AM
8:30 AM on Friday morning we were up and ready for another adventure. As usual we stopped at a local Restaurant somewhere in Nizwa picked our lunch and off we went to Tanuf. Which was 10KM from Nizwa towards Bahla, you will see a right turn with sign of Tanuf Water bottle indicating the entrance of the wadi. Straight ahead you will see old ruin of a village (Picture Four), I need to get a book about this, I have no Idea what lead to that ruin, but I understand it was for some well known imam, anyway, past that ruin on your first left, it leads you inside Wadi Tanuf. Again although a saloon car can pass, but I seriously donít recommend that, Unlike Wadi Bani Awf, this wadi has an end after 8KM drive. The scenery is outstanding through out, you will see a falaj on your left hand side while driving pass this wadi and at the end, it wont do you any harm if you walk for 15 minutes which leads towards some beduins homes, just stop and think how on earth those people live there, its just mind boggling I tell you. Anyway, we had our lunch at that spot, took some photo with the beduins and there way of living and off we went to Muscat.
Damn, for a three hours trip to a two days trip, what can I say, I must have been out of my mind than, would I do it again, HELL YA. This time will be more adventurous, guess who is entering Fuji Photo COmpetition 2003 <img src="/threads/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
25th October 2003, 07:41 AM
wow that's one exciting and dangerous trip you had...we might try to go there as well..but after ramdhan inshallah..it's wonderfull to explore new places you have never seen before..by the way nice photos..and 7amdlilah 3la alsalamah..:)
25th October 2003, 06:45 PM
NEO, I 've been to Wadi Bani Auf, And as u said "IT IS AMAZING". the road is humping and narrow but this is the adventure part of the wadi......
Somewhere is Belad Sait, you can see a beutiful view where the village is built on a mountain side in a steps pattern ( I am not sure what is exactly called) and surrounded by farms. The village is Beutiful. I think they build the village this way because the water comes from the Jabal Akhdar used for irrigation and other purposses. It is amazing in the middle of the mountains where you dont expect to find and life, you find a complete viallge with electricity and schools.....
By the way NEO, I dont think these ppl are Bedouin??!!
25th October 2003, 06:47 PM
nice trip Neo.. i think something are more enjoyable when they are done on impulse rather when they are organised.. hmmm it depends i guess.
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that there was some sort of hot spring in the city and she was confused between the KASFA hot spring and the THAWRA hot spring. Only later we discovered the latter one was actually located in Rustaq and the former one was located in Nakhal
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what you mean is 3ein thuwara is in Nakhal and 3ein ilkasfah is in Rustaq.
25th October 2003, 07:32 PM
Ok guys, I just found out that I was actually in Jabal Shams, but apprached it in a different route all together. Speaking with my Westerns friends here, they said that I was out of my mind to take that road. As its normally washed out through out the year. And thinking about it, some part was washed out where I had to be careful to pass the wheels in betwee steep holes.
25th October 2003, 10:21 PM
NEO, My advice (if you want and if you dont want jut ignore....)
Get the "The field Guide to Geology of Oman" book.... it will be your excellent guide in all these Beutiful wadis. around the North Mountains.
Ohh dont forget a GPS <img src="/threads/images/graemlins/anim_headscratch.gif" alt="" /> if you dont have one... specially if you are adventurous person
28th October 2003, 05:35 AM
Hi Neo - yep a nice trip and wonderful sights.
So you actually went over Sharafat Al Alamayn Ė the highest point in your trip. On you right is Jebel Shams (about the 3rd peak on the distance); by the people living in that area it is called (Jebel) Al Qannah or more specifically Ghamat Al Shameyla at 3009meters above sea level is the highest peak in Oman. The small village in your picture could be Hat near Bilad Sait.
If you had come from Al Hamra to Wadi bani Auf then you need GREAT breaks, and low 4 wheel drive otherwise you will have break failure and have a major problem.
About Tanuf Ė well this is the town of Sheikh Suleiman Al Nabhani, along with Birkat Al Moz and villages on the Saiq plateau. The military action during the 1950s and 1960s in that area may well be the cause of the ruins you saw. Ė Tony Walsh
3rd November 2003, 06:16 PM
Why dont you register a nickname mr walsh and benefit us all with your contributions ?
You do know far much more then us about these places and we are soo keen to share your knowldge.
Thanx <img src="/threads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
13th May 2004, 10:26 PM
Great adventure Neo. I'm wondering, does anyone know another route that won't be so adventurous as the one Neo took? I will be trying to get from Wadi Bani Awf to Nizwa myself, but I fear my nerves won't take me as far as Neo. <img src="/threads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
Or should I try Wadi Ghul or the Saiq plateau? I'm looking forward to some advise!
24th July 2004, 12:17 AM
So, I did take the route anyway. I first visited Wadi Bani Auf and then made it up the steep mountain road with the intention of looking how far I would come. There was nothing wrong with the signs, as the direction to Al Hamra was clearly indicated at the end of the wadi, so I thought we could go a long way (1pm). We enjoyed loads of spectacular views, and to tell you the truth, the mountains have struck me more than sand driving in the wahibas.
Anyway, suddenly it started to rain, as I feared because I saw dark clouds covering the top of the mountains when I went up. It was the first time I really became nervous because of the water from the mountains washing the road away. The rain became heavier and heavier and I saw the water pouring along the rocks next to me. In despair, I clenched to a local driver in front of me to lead the way, and without knowing it, I eventually drove up to his own house on the top of Bilad Sait. We enjoyed his hospitality for the duration of the rain.
When we continued, we found another sign to Al Hamra and began our climb up the mountain (not Jabal Shams, I believe, because the top there is military territory). The rain has wrecked the road as huge parts were washed away and I had to make my way over boulders the size of melons. At the very top of the mountain, the view was so beautiful!
On our descend, we ploughed our way through mud and rocks. At one moment, the road was truly washed away by a wadi. I saw another 4WD on the other end giving up and driving back. I drove back after making a turn on a 3m wide road with a cliff on one side. I took a turn to another road which descended steeper and gave me a better chance at crossing the same wadi. After that, the road became graded and we even encountered trucks. They are making blacktop road from Al Hamra up to the mountain. When we finally struck blacktop road at the foot of the mountain, we were relieved to have survived this day. We checked into Falaj Daris (we did for RO 18 :P) and had our car cleaned the next day.
I don't think I exactly followed the route Neo took, but I think that's because I took a turn before the washed-away road.
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