The scenic but challenging Coastal trail of Sifah, QURAYAT

  

Everyone was aware that one way, the trek is going to take about 8 hours. The ultimate destination is an island. Along the way, they were told of amazing mountain formations, of roads less travelled that are very challenging, of nature still perfectly preserved the eyes and the senses will have a lot of things to feast on.
Organised by Hiko Adventure led by Munther al Jaabri in coordination with Kilimanjaro Team (a group aiming to ultimately climb Kilimanjaro) and Oman Outdoor Adventure, there were 33 participants in total. It was quite a big team for a trek happening in the middle of summer.
In total, the group is covering a total of 18 kilometres, passing through Sifah and heading to the direction of Qurayat.
Hoping to gain a long distance, they left at 6.30 in the morning.
Ahmed al Jaabri, one of the participants, noted, “Since it was a coastal trek, there were no pathways or paved roads. We were literally walking along Oman’s coasts on cliffs that barely see people.”
He shared, to easily manage the team, “We were divided into three groups to make it easy for all of us. In the beginning, the route was easy but as we move farther and farther from Sifah, the path started to get even more difficult.”
Outdoor adventure enthusiast Peter Varenkamp shared, “I really thought that we’d reached the island, our final destination far earlier that the eight-hour timeframe given, but that turned out to be a very optimistic view from me. Starting early, there was a pleasant breeze coming from the sea.”
He added, “It’s a beautiful sight to see the high mountains on the right side and the clear blue sea on the left side. This contrast of water and mountains makes you realise how impressive the world is constructed.”
He also observed, “After about one-kilometer walk, we saw some foxes that were running away from us. As nature is very untouched in this area, animals are also not used to people. You wonder how these animals survive in an area like it.”
A few kilometres farther, Peter shared that “It started to get more difficult as the track started to have steep descents and climbs. With the temperature also rising, moving forward became harder than most of us thought it would be.”
“Our phase was slow. But we carried on. Along the coastline, the temperature was about 40 degrees Celsius and there were no shades at all. Everyone was suffering,” Peter said.
“Nevertheless, we enjoyed the beautiful view of rock formations which led to the sea. The scene looks like art — as if someone has planned very well how they will look like,” Peter shared.
Al Jaabri shared that all in all, they passed about a dozen of hidden beaches. They were not only stunning they make for good pictures.
“These seldom seen beauties of Oman inspired us to carry on. Just seeing the high mountains and the stillness of the Sea of Oman recharge one’s organic batteries,” he added.
Danilo, an Italian expat enjoyed his time taking photos of many fossils he found amongst the stones on the trail. He noted that to know that so many years ago, these fossils were once breathing animals give one a dose of reality about time.
The team came face to face not only with foxes but different birds especially partridges. There were also a few gazelles jumping away as the group approaches which Filipino trekker Cathy Bronda called ‘Little Bambies.’
The group would eventually reach the island several hours past their scheduled timeframe. But the beauty of the isolated place they were on rendered them thankful.
“This Sifah to Quriyat hiking trail really opens up new and exciting beautiful views,” one of the participants quipped.
“The picturesque landscapes and the hidden beaches had a key role in our completion of the trail,” Al Jaabri said.
Due to the strong wind, the team was not able to take the boat that would take them back to Sifah right away. They have to spend a few more hours lazing up on the beach in the company of nature’s silence.
While waiting, Leyla, an expat from Paris said, “Waiting is annoying. But lying on the beach like this is also enjoyable. If I send photos to my friends in Paris now, they would say that I ended up in some kind of paradise.”
For Al Jaabri, he has few reminders to those who are planning to take this route. He noted that primary of this is that a trekker should think about their stamina.
“Sometimes the mind is willing but the body is weak. You have to realistically assess the distance you can cover.”
He added, “They also have to take plenty of water and food as there are no facilities or even roads. They should be prepared and should never venture out alone to this route. They should always be with a buddy or two.”