Dima Watayeen as a destination does not make it often on the news. Scouring through numerous sources, the only place that usually pops up when searching for information is the Sulphur wadi we've already featured in the newspaper several times.
A trip further deep into the heart of Dima Watayeen would actually yield a far better view and a more dynamic wadi that is ideal as a family getaway and a camping spot.
From one photo, I reached out to our favourite guide Ahmed al Jaabri of Oman Outdoor Adventures to inquire about the location of Tul Village where the wadi is located nearby.
Doing rounds on WhatsApp, the photo, taken by a drone, showed an emerald pool in between deep canyons. From the said angle, a couple of Jeeps were parked about five metres away from the water and in the background, radiant under the midday sun are homes dotted by date palms.
Ahmed said that he heard about the place and so set our weekend destination for that week.
We left Muscat past 10 joined by some other friends. Taking the Samail tunnels, we headed further towards Rimal al Sharqiyah taking a turn where the road leads to Dima Watayeen.
I'd been to Dima Watayeen but I've never traversed the way going to the main town and crossing more wadis leading to roads heading to Sur.
We passed by Baad while Rod Stewart was crooning in the background. A white mosque welcomed us and further down, the view gave way to more farms and sleepy villages. Several metres further, an old forgotten tower sits on top of a hill still doing a job the people of the area already forgotten.
The road towards Tul village was a bit long. In between, water overflows on the road causing saloon cars to skirt. Far ahead, the rugged mountain peaks transformed to darken blood and every so often dozens of goats cross the road while others were busy feeding on the foliage of the growing plants.
We passed through the village of Alka and its big concrete houses, the purple domed mosque an iconic structure in the area. After running for another 30 minutes, the view fades into an amalgam of mountains, old villages and surprisingly, in the middle of nowhere, a football court.
We took a sharp turn which lead to another wadi we had to cross. While we had a 4WD, our tyres were big enough that it was a challenging journey going in.
We will eventually see our first sign of deeper pools when we reached the outskirt of Tul village.
Bigger 4WD cars had no trouble going right inside Wadi Tul. Just like what we saw in the photo, two gargantuan cliffs rise above the wadi throwing shade at the wadi below. Just like the photo, it was dreamy and worth the drive.
The wadi itself is about a 40-minute hike from the main cliff entrance all the way towards the bigger pools. The hike will remind one of the middle part of Wadi Shab where giant rocks and shallow pools are decorated with different water plants. While it is an easy hike, some parts can be challenging for beginners and the end part has natural occurring water slides carved from smoothened rocks.
Personally, Wadi Tul became an instant favourite now becoming part of my top 6 must check out wadis in Oman. While it's a far drive from Muscat, the cliffs shading the pathways of the wadi were a relief especially during the summer when the sun is torture.
While the photo we saw had much more water on it, we realized that it only happens after it rains. During our visit, the water already subsided but based on the story of the locals, the water pools are there all year round being it the source for watering the villager's gardens.
Difficulty-wise, I will put the wadi at 2 out of 5. We travelled with a 12-year-old kid who has no trouble hiking the first 15 minutes of the hike. I highly recommend bringing along your own food supply as the place is perfect for barbeque and camping. Dima Watayeen, while a strong agricultural hub, is yet to see big restaurants and hopefully, more visits to the area will fuel economic movement.
Should you visit it? The answer is a definite yes. Wadi Tul has its own charm and while smaller than the more popular Wadi Bani Khalid or Wadi Shab, it is an amazing stop when you are on your way visiting Rimal al Sharqiyah.