Compared to the loud booming noise of the Ayn Athum waterfall in Salalah during Khareef, the secret Al Hail waterfall in Wadi Al Arbeein is tamer. Its water is pleasantly cold even in the middle of summer and the turquoise pool where the water is collected is a temptation for adventurous outdoor lovers. It’s destination Ahmed al Jaabri visited last week with a couple of his friends. A definite pride of the Al Sharqiyah Governorate, Al Hail waterfall seldom sees footfall. It’s not a destination for everybody and among the many requirements one has to prepare for, the one on top of the list is being healthy and fit. “It requires quite a challenging if not long period of walking and swimming,” Al Jaabri said.
“Wadi Al Arbeein is one of the most amazing Oman wadis. Located about an hour and a half drive from Muscat, it boasts green valleys, lush palm plantations and uncharted, seldom visited paths,” he shared.
“But it is a great place to escape especially for those who thrive exploring nature. With barely any human settlements close to the waterfalls, it offers you the ultimate soundtrack of nature — the clear, crisp sound of running water, the mesmerising chorus of birds and even the comforting, sometimes haunting flow of breeze on Wadi Al Arbeein’s narrow channels,” he said.
Many dared exploring Wadi Al Arbeein in the past and many also reported getting lost as before, without the proper markers, it was a difficult place to pin down. But just recently, roads have seen quite a development and although the paved road ends abruptly in the area, finding it is no longer a Herculean task.
There are different ways to get to Wadi Al Arbeein but the easiest is taking Muscat’s Route 17 via Amerat going to Sur. A few metres from the village of Dibab, a sign points to the right announces that the wadi is located 17 km away.
“What people need to know is that the road might be fine from Muscat until Dibab, but while taking the route leading to Wadi al Arbeein, the paved road ends abruptly and it is for this reason that outdoor lovers must opt for 4x4 cars,” Al Jaabri cautioned.
“For our trip, we left on Thursday evening. Since my group is accustomed to camping, we opted to camp at a place near the wadi. We wanted to fully experience the area and being there in the evening means we have more time exploring it the next day,” Al Jaabri narrated.
“We rose early as we’ve come to understand that finding the waterfalls is on its own, an adventure. There are no clear markers around. From where we camped, we have to walk for almost an hour passing through different valleys. The trail got harder and difficult until we came across large rocks and large pools. To cross to the other side, we have to swim,” he added.
“Locating the waterfalls took us quite a long time. From our campsite, the trail was about 6km long before you’d find the large waterfall,” he said.
Wadi al Arbeieen is home to different turquoise pools in different sizes. Although a favourite picnic destination among the locals in the area, compared to other wadis, it has a more untouched feel to it since it is a challenging place to get to.
Heather Louise Duncan, a travel blogger, shared on her blog (http://www.theduncanadventures.com) that she came to know of the waterfall from whispers.
“I’ve often heard of people going there to swim, BBQ, hang out and picnic but I heard whispers of a waterfall deep inside the wadi. Not many people were aware of this,” she wrote.
Plunging into her own adventure, Duncan would see for herself the fresh pools which are “an amazing place to cool down after a strenuous hike and have some fun. She noted that the visibility in the pools was amazingly clear allowing beautiful views of the fish swimming by.
“With very little garbage and pollution, this is by far the best Wadi I have visited in Oman,” she claimed.
Duncan, who was notably impressed with what she found in Wadi al Arbeieen, added “Reaching the waterfall took 2.5 exhausting hours but it was worth it to experience such an amazingly pure, untouched beauty. Swimming in the pool below the waterfall was an experience I’ll never forget.”
In agreement with Al Jaabri, Duncan said, “To reach the waterfall itself the trek was hard going and dangerous at points, this is not a day out for the faint hearted – clambering over huge boulders, leaping across rocks with sheer drops and pulling yourself up into a narrow crack in the rock with only a rope for support as your feet slip and slide on the smooth surface. One wrong step in here and you would be in trouble. Believe me, clumsy as ever I took a tumble down a sharp rock outcrop.”
Despite the challenges, both also agreed that for those who are in Oman, Wadi al Arbeieen is definitely an amazing location that one needs to add their ‘must visit’ list.