Sunday, April 02, 2023 | Ramadan 10, 1444 H
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More people getting drawn to wadi adventures


Ruqayah al shama and three of her friends are flying to Oman from Bahrain for a one-week getaway and while she already pictured it as a full-packed adventure, there is no way she is skipping visiting one of Oman’s wadis.

Having been to Oman a few times, she said that the call of the wadi is definitely something she always looks forward to.

Jordanian Maryam F was also just in Oman for three days in January but her visit to Wadi Mibam was all the inspiration she needed to make Oman one of the countries she must return to.

“It was paradise. The person who recommended it to me definitely was right. It was all the adventure one can ask for and the beauty that awaits was worth all the effort’’,she said.

As Oman slowly opens the country for international travel and the “No PCR” rule was already implemented, this was welcome news for a lot of international guests who were just waiting for travel restrictions to ease down.

In Ruqayah’s case, she had her plans of visiting Oman cancelled numerous times due to the changing restrictions but with the new changes, she’s 100% sure that the visit is happening this time around.

“I’ve done camping in different places in Oman during my first visit. I’ve met a few people who showed me amazing destinations and locations and because of that earlier experience, Oman became an easy escape, especially in the Middle East where such nature adventure is limited’’, Ruqayah said.

“A few of my friends, when they saw my photos, were also intrigued by what Oman can offer as a destination. There’s a lot of people who still don’t know the rich heritage, diversity and natural wonders Oman has but now that the country is opening again, I think the interest will only get higher like my friend and my case’’, she said.

The call of the wadi

Oman’s wadis are some of the most diverse in the region. In fact, no country in the Middle East can compete with the kind of adventure Oman wadis can offer.

Locally, the interest has grown tremendously over the last two years. The flight restrictions caused by the pandemic had allowed both nationals and expats to look at Oman destinations in a different light and with more appreciation.

As a testament to this growth, the number of trips organised by different tour guides and adventure groups tripled compared to wadi adventures done before Covid-19.

Local travel enthusiast Ahmed al Jaabri who is one of the pioneers of wadi adventures said that whenever he opens social media, there’s always one or two groups organising trips to different locations.

“When we started doing wadi trips five years ago, there was very limited number of people who showed interest in this kind of outdoor adventure. We helped popularise many of the wadi destinations people enjoy today and it’s great that Omanis and expats can appreciate the gifts of Oman’s landscape’’, he said.

“When we visited many of these places, whether its Wadi al Hoqain, Wadi Hawir or the friendlier Wadi Qurai, these places were not easy destinations to visit. Over the years, new paths were created and through experience, most of the groups were able to make the trip easier as wel’’, he noted.

“Some of the wadis were also transformed so that it will be friendlier for adventurers. For example, before Mibam exploded in popularity, the only way to explore it was by abseiling (which meant paying extra for the gears) or by manually climbing through the side of the cliff or walking really long distance to get down to the bottom of the wadi. Now, there are stairs as well as ropes that can help you navigate the pathway easier. These little improvements are the things that make wadi adventure almost accessible to everyone’’, he said.

Ahmed said that depending on their level of skills and experience, he can understand why wadi adventure will continue to explode in popularity.

“If you want the really hard ones that will test your skills, you can explore Umq Baer or the Snake Canyon. Those places are definitely not for beginners. This is what I mean when I say depending on your level, there is a wadi that kind of help track your progress’’, he said.

Ahmed is advocating however for more deliberate acts of helping protect the environment or these places.

“With people usually comes a lot of garbages. Animals usually leave behind their footprints but notable for people when we travel, we bring along plastics and garbage and just throw them everywhere. If you saw most of these places five or six years ago, you would have seen how pristine they were. I hope there is a collective effort from groups and organisers to keep it this way’’, he said.

“This is one of Oman’s top attractions definitely and if marketed right, can be the reason for a lot of tourists to come once the country is fully open. Let’s make sure to protect both the environment and the culture of the places we visit whenever we decide to do these adventures’’, he said.

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