The Sultanate’s hidden sites you need to see soon

With nature’s bountiful bliss, the Sultanate offers a plethora of gems wrapped up in flora and fauna that unfolds when explored. Oman has no scarcity of unique and intriguing destinations ideal for short trips and day excursions and local sites continue to attract attention of explorers and nature lovers,
Be it couple of days’ breather from the city life or a day out to a place hidden and unexplored, the preferences are profuse. While several nature-pockets of relaxation are known to many, several others remain unknown and untouched lately.
Locating such hidden gems of the country does not only give knowledge of the place but brings in a pleasurable solitude — from winding ravines, wadis and emerald pools, that reflect a sharp contrast to their rugged rock companions, to the pristine beaches – some hidden, some pebbled and few merging dramatically with the desert dunes.
While some hold on to rich culture reflecting charms of the bygone era; some mysteries and thrills are found hidden deep inside the interesting and jaw-dropping cave systems of the country.
Moving further beyond the most notable Wadi Tiwi and Wadi Shab, the Hajjar Mountain stretch of Oman has rich collections of ravines throughout its yet-to-be-fully-explored range.
Wadi Jizi and Wadi Salahi, located approximately 200 km from Muscat, near the city of Suhar, have their own geological charm. The best exposed of its own kind, the ophiolite rocks are well displayed at these wadis.
The magnificent pillow lava rock in this wadi is a great landscape to stroll. It paves a path to the bottom of an ancient ocean which once existed in the area and is now some day-trippers’ wonder. Yet another 20 km from Jizi roundabout along Suhar-Yankul road unveils the splendor of Wadi Hibi.
A drive following a signboard to Ibra before Samail leads to Wadi Al Aaq road which further adds a pointer to yet another signboard displaying Dima wa’Tayin.
A 4-wheel-drive friendly, rugged terrain with innumerable narrow streams, with occasional shades of date palms and messy shrubs, the wadi is best suited as a picnic spot which is worth a day’s visit.
The best of the lot is claimed to be hidden in Jebel Shams. Wadi Jadis (Jadis meaning a land never stepped before) and Wadi Ghul, stands in as an exclamation, covered up with bushy green, gray rocks and shady trees. A best site to camp and trek, is considered a must visit.
Moving ahead of the winding wadis, the Hajjar range opens up gates to several traveled and uncharted cave system. Selmah Plateau is home to not only the Majlis Al Jinn cave, but the Seventh Hole and not so talked about Kahf Al Tahry, inviting cavers and adventurers to spend a day in awe. These caves in the plateau, belonging to the Al Jinn cave system, need a climbing and abseiling, requiring a high fitness level for the wannabe explorers.
About 12 km away from Majlish Al Jinn, Kahf Al Tahry is reached after crossing and climbing boulders which leads to a high rock facade opening up a hole that is 150 metre high and 30 metre wide. A suitable place to camp overnight or few hours to unwind in the wild, these caves in Oman are definitely worth a thrilling stopover.
If the cave adventure chills the spine, a trek through some lost villages of Sap Bani Khamis, Wadi Bani Habib in Jebel Shams and Jebel Akhdar, picturesque Wakan village near Suhar or Misfat Al Abryeen near Bahla equals a transcendental quest.
Calming down at a placid beach is always a surplus to holidaying mood. The hidden beaches at Bandar Al Khairan are just 40 minutes away from the city of Muscat.
A drive along Muscat-Sur highway, unfold beaches with atypical natural twists. Few beaches set a clear example of the aeoliante rocks forming eroded asymmetrical contours; others are completely covered up with pebbles and shells of innumerable forms and colours, reflecting the riches of the ocean life.
Charismatic of them all are the sugar-white dunes of Al Khaluf sands, commonly termed the Sugar Dunes, vividly merging with the turquoise blue sea.
When are you treading to get up close and familiar with these mesmerizing spots?

Swati Basu Das
axisswati@gmail.com