YAHYA AL SALMANI –
If you see pools of turquoise water surrounded by date palm trees or secret caves with gushing waterfalls, it means that you have arrived at Wadi Shab, one of the most scenic places in Oman. With mercury levels hovering around 35 degrees Celsius, it is the ideal time to explore this natural landmark located north of Tiwi town and 140 km from Muscat.
Visitors find the wadi waters very refreshing after a long journey. One can get a close view of life in the date farms by canoeing through the wadi. The expedition offers an opportunity to see plantations and caves along the edges of the mountains.
One can also see locals harvesting different types of fruits, including banana, mango and dates, en route.
The wadi is a go-to place for bird-watchers as hundreds of sea birds can be spotted started this period until the end of March. Visitors come across crystal-clear pools of water during the expedition. The water pools, which contain fresh water, are very deep.
The exploration, which takes 45 minutes to one hour, leads explorers to farms built on terraces in a valley. These terraces are owned by farmers who use the ‘Al Aflaj’ irrigation system built on the rocky edges of the wadi banks.
Both locals and visitors are thankful to the authorities for installing signboards at several places warning visitors against swimming or diving in the deep, rocky pools. They have also requested the authorities concerned to build toilets and provide proper facilities for changing clothes at the end of their journey.
“We are glad to see Omanis managing boat services at the site. They are cooperative and friendly. The site offers a great opportunity to spot several birds. We have already posted photos on social media. We are excited to share them with our relatives and friends,” a French tourist told the Observer.