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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Al Jabal Al Akhdhar festival: Celebration of outdoors

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It is midday in the month of August but up here at Al Jabal Al Akhdhar it is 27 degrees Celsius and people excitedly gather on the sides of the road to welcome the horses and the horse riders.


This is the first tourism festival for Al Jabal Al Akhdhar. The five-day festival which began on August 23 will continue till Saturday. The festival is being organised by the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism and is held in cooperation with the Office of Governor of Al Dakhiliyah, Wali Office at Al Jabal Al Akhdhar and “Oman From Horseback Team”.


Shaikh Ali bin Mohammed al Busaidy, Wali of Al Jabal Al Akhdhar, explained, “It was June of 2022 when Al Jabal Al Akhdhar was given the status of wilayat. This tourism festival will now introduce the public to various aspects of Al Jabal Al Akhdhar. From its very nature to the growing hospitality sector and from its traditions such as farming -- from roses to pomegranates and producing rose water and now luxury soaps made from flowers and herbs found on Al Jabal Al Akhdhar.”


He explained how more projects are coming up from private schools, educational institutions and more resorts.


“Al Jabal Al Akhdhar has many seasons to celebrate from roses to pomegranates and of course the summer, spring and winter. We have visitors from GCC countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait who come by road, have a holiday here and then continue their journey to Salalah for khareef in Dhofar and at the same time visitors who on their return from Salalah come to Al Jabal Al Akhdhar. We also have tourists who come from Jordan and Egypt who rent a car upon arrival at the airport and head to Al Jabal Al Akhdhar,” he explained.


The horse trail has been attracting attention and Saif al Rawahi explained how in 2019 they had attempted the trail during winter in Al Jabal Al Akhdhar. There were eight horses of Arabian and English breed. Adding an extra touch of tradition was a young rider from Al Jabal Al Akhdhar on donkey. The young rider is Mundhar bin Musanah al Owmari who was cheered by everyone as he received his gift from the wali.



“He is from Al Jabal Al Akhdhar and he just came over and joined us expressing his keenness in participating. He rides his donkey every day so he is professional in his own right. The rest of the team gave him full support,” said Saif.


Faris al Mohammed came from Saudi Arabia to participate in the equestrian event.


“My trainer saw the news about the event on Instagram and he shared it with me. I saw it as a great opportunity to experience the Sultanate of Oman and enjoy this special event. I have had a marvellous time and it is my first trip to Oman.”


The prize distribution was held at Layali Al Jabal Restaurant, an official partner for the Al Jabal Al Akhdhar Tourism Festival and the owner Ahmed al Nabhani eagerly received the horse riders to honour them with trophies.


“We would like to support the tourism initiatives in full way and support small and medium enterprises too. That’s why we have a corner for handmade products such as rose water, herbs, teas and handmade soaps,” explained Ahmed al Nabhani.


@lakshmioman


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