Wadi Dayqah has been one of the top attractions in the Wilayat of Quriyat. I've visited it sporadically in the last five years and before Covid19, it was so popular that most weekends, it's hard to find a spot below the dam as most families spend the whole afternoon picnicking by the falaj and pools.
While the viewpoint of the dam offers a sweeping view of the villages and the lush gardens below and the beautiful emerald water at the opposite end, I only know little about the surrounding villages.
A recent trip had opened my eyes that these villages have so much more to offer but it took going off the usual trail into abandoned homes and entering dilapidated doors to witness some of Oman's amazing views.
Punching in this coordinate in Google 23°05'02.4"N 58°52'04.4"E led us into a small village of scattered homes mostly made of mud and stones. There was a small roundabout leading towards the village and a small well with a tree growing out of it was one of its indicators. A closer look would reveal a flowing falaj below the well.
At the one end of this roundabout is a mosque of which where we started our quick hike. We ventured towards an abandoned complex made out of mud and stones and is comprised of a series of rooms in different levels of disarray.
The housing complex alone was a revelation. From the rooftop, one will have a clear view of the pathway of the Wadi Dayqah as it extends further south. The rooms are empty but they still retain some of their foundations and some of the rooms have their windows bolted shut with little light streaming in through cracks on the walls.
At the far end of the complex is a door that led towards the cliff. This is where I've fallen in love with this place.
Passing through this narrow door, one will see the beautiful cliffs at the opposite end of the valley. The mountains are separated by the Wadi in the middle and the trickle of water from the dam created a series of pools that the villagers use not only for swimming and bathing but also to water their gardens.
Standing from that end and looking at the view, it was impossible to resist the call of the emerald pools below. Since there were no stairs to climb down we decided to drive down towards the wadi.
It was another 10-minute drive on an unpaved, muddy road. Since we have a small 4WD, we decided to hike the rest of the way. It was a quick 15-minute walk before we saw our first pool. The pool itself was a decently done one with the villagers creating a wall to collect the water at one end. This is where we spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the cool water and every once in a while, enjoying the foot spa courtesy of the resident fishes.
Walking a little farther down, the pathway opens to an even bigger part of the wadi. Here, the pools are bigger and the water flow was faster. A few months back, people had been bringing their kayaks here to enjoy white-water rafting but it's a seasonal activity and mostly depend on how much available water there is from the dam.
"For the villagers, they get to enjoy some water activities with the dam management release the water. When they release water from the dam, it flows towards here and it is when adventurers come to enjoy the water flow," shared Ahmed Al Jaabri, our trusted guide from Oman Outdoor Adventure.
"You really need to have contact from the village to enjoy some of the water activities. It's very seasonal when they release the water and the water usually do not stay long," he added.
Typical of many Oman villages, most of the farms are filled with date palms and different seasonal crops. The village itself also are just made of traditional homes and stores are located a few kilometres away.
The spot we found is definitely good for a picnic. But if you're planning to do one, make sure to bring your own supplies.
While the villagers are welcoming, it is important to remember that you are a guest to their village so be sure to observe different traditional protocols when interacting with the locals.
If you're looking for a place to explore this weekend, I highly suggest you drive to Quriyat, enjoy the dam and take the less travelled pathways towards abandoned villages. There are so many things to learn and be mesmerized by the views known only to the locals.