Sunday, September 24, 2023 | Rabi' al-awwal 8, 1445 H
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Five activities to break the summer monotony


The sweltering heat of summer in Oman can be a real challenge for people to enjoy their usual outdoor activities. With some areas registering up to 47 degrees Celsius (Muscat included), the country has some cities listed amongst the world's hottest places on earth.

We've recently tried one of those experiments of frying eggs under direct sunlight and suffice to say, while we got soggy sunny side up, it did the deed in less than an hour. This gives an insight into how easy Oman's hot temperature can burn your skin.

But the high mercury temperature is nothing new for Oman's nationals and residents. While many opt to stay indoors especially with the looming threat of Covid19, some are becoming creative with their activities making use of the cover of darkness to pursue their passion and interest.

With strict adherence to Supreme Committee protocols, here are some activities you can do both during your weekdays and weekends without needing to be under direct sunlight.

Go museum hopping

As the night curfew hours had been extended up to 10 pm, museums in the country had also started operating. There are a lot of both private and public museums in Oman that are accessible to the public. Well air-conditioned and the traffic regulated to abide by the required capacity of visitors as imposed by the Supreme Committee, it's a wholesome activity that will be a great learning opportunity and a teachable moment for your kids. Don't know where to start? The National Museum is Oman’s flagship cultural institution, "showcasing the Sultanate’s cultural heritage from the earliest evidence of human settlement in the Oman Peninsula through to the present day." It's open on weekdays from 10 am to 5 pm. There are more than a dozen museums in Muscat that you can choose from including the Omani and French Museum, Bait al Zubair Museum, and the smaller, private ones but allow public access. Do your research beforehand and make sure to make phone inquiries for timing hours as to not waste your time.

Explore Oman's underground scene by spelunking

Spelunking is yet to pick up among the public as an adventure but numerous tour groups and agencies already include this package in their adventure list. Since you are going underground, you won't definitely feel the scorching heat of the summer sun so it makes perfect logic as a summer adventure. Oman offers some of the best caves in the world. From the easier Jirnan Cave to the mid-level Al Hoota Cave to the challenging Majlis al Jinn, you can choose the caves according to your level of confidence. Inside these caves are pools unlike you've seen before. There are also very interesting stalactite and stalagmites formations. Did you know that there is a rock formation in Al Hoota cave they called "the guardian of the lake"? Did you also know that the long, echoing chambers of Tahiri include what they call Cheryl's Drop? Exploring Oman's caves is also a great learning experience as to how Oman's lands were formed. You can get a reference a few more information about some cave adventures from our friends at Change Your Routine Adventure (Instagram: @cyr_adventure).

Explore shaded canyons of the wadis

Wadi adventures can also be perfect as summer outdoor adventures. Some of Oman's wadis involve passing through canyons which are totally protected from the sun with mountains and cliffs serving as canopies protecting you from direct heat. As of late, Wadi Hoqain has grown tremendously in popularity not only because of its picturesque canyon walls but also because of its warm water. There are many others to choose from. The wadi near Bat Village in Liwa, the Snake Canyon (both big and small), the beautiful Umq Baer, and even Wadi Mibam in Tiwi are great alternatives because they involve hiking without direct sunlight. Remember to take precautions however when you do this sort of adventure. Always know your capacity and go with someone who has prior experience.

Visit historical villages, forts, and castles

Last week, one of our writers talked about Jabreen Castle and the ruins of Al Hamra. There are many more to choose from as great alternatives. The harat in Manah and al Yemen house some of the best ruins that give a glimpse of Oman's ancient, beautiful past. In Muscat alone, there are two forts in Muttrah that you can check out -- something you can visit in the late afternoon when the sun is not too harsh. From Rustaq to Suhar, from Nizwa to Sur, there are places that you can visit but still enjoy the comfort of air-conditioned rooms. You can also do cultural activities by visiting the rose water makers of Jabal Akhdhar or the dhow makers of Sur. Make sure to check out timing hours by calling or checking online for whatever destination you'd like to visit.

Take in-city evening hikes

While avid hikers go for the usually challenging routes, you and your family's hikes need not be overly complicated. A beginner will no doubt be able to do the Muttrah Trail at 6 pm and finish it with still the sun on the horizon at 7 pm but if even that is too complicated for you, then you can do either do the Muttrah Sea Road or Love Street Sea Road hike. It's a good 30-minute hike which is just enough to give you a bit of cardio exercise. The Qurum Rose Garden Park and the Athaiba Beach are also great alternatives for a late afternoon stroll.

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