More than 200 kilometres away from Muscat is a wadi everyone has gotten familiar with. Wide, turquoise and blue pools, lush date plantations and an interesting topographical features that make it a true gem locked away in the mountains. Ask any resident and they would already have heard of Wadi Bani Khalid.
As Ali Mohammadi and Riyadh Al Balushi, administrators of the blog called OmanTripper, it took the number one spot for “Best Wadi to Visit” from Wadi Al Arbaieen with Wadi Shab running a close third in 2013. But far beyond the touristy Bani Khalid is another wadi not many are familiar of.
“Very few people have heard of this wadi. The area of Bani Khalid is popular for its huge mountains and cool, flowing waters but far beyond, deeper into the heart of the Al Sharqiyah region, is Wadi Hawir,” outdoor and off-road adventures enthusiast Ahmed al Jaabri said who visited the place on Friday.
“The wadi is lovely but it is very difficult to take your family there as it is not an accessible place to visit. You cannot carry many things because of the great distance you have to hike on. It’s a great place for people who are adventurous,” he shared.
“The pictures we shot cannot give justice to the beauty of the place. The mountains are of different shades of brown and pastels. Contrasted with the intense green of the river and pools, and with gushing, cool waterfalls, they were something I haven’t experienced before.”
“It truly is a unique place worthy of the time and energy spent for getting there,” he added.
Still unpopular but can be the next must-go to destination
“I have been to Wadi Hawir a couple of times. If you are into exploring and outdoor adventures, you will definitely not get bored of the plenty of things to see around,” Ahmed shared. “We left Muscat at seven in the morning, brought snacks, water and sodas along the way. We reached the Bani Khalid area at 10 in the morning. By this time, the heat was already intense,” he added.
From Wadi Bani Khalid, Ahmed and his team moved farther north. He also shared that they have to leave their vehicles behind.
“One has to prepare for not only hiking but crawling tiny spaces and jumping some heights,” he said.
Locals pointed them to the direction of Wadi Hawir as there are no markers or posts to signify its location. Ahmed said that although Wadi Hawir is not that popular among expats or those who live in big cities like Muscat, most of the residents living in the area knows it.
“What is drawing people to this wadi are its unique features that cannot be found anywhere else in the Sultanate. You have a wadi that is locked between two sharp mountains it was hard to imagine that it was there,” he said.
Ahmed shared that they have to climb huge boulders, jump from giant rock to another, get wet, crawl, dip some more into refreshingly cold, crystal clear water to get to a waterfall hidden far within.
Adventure Club, a local adventure organisation, visited Wadi Hawir in 2016. Cled Taporco joined the group and a video he uploaded on Youtube showed that they have to rappel down on the side of a gushing waterfall to get to the green pool below.
But once they overcome the hard part, the rest is pure fun and excitement.
A portion of Wadi Hawir allows one to slide down to the pool below using the natural stone slide carved by the flowing water for hundreds of years. There are also several pools to choose from — pools that unlike those in Wadi Bani Khalid, seldom see people.
The waterfall, made visually beautiful by growing algae, is about 40 feet high and its water flowing towards more unexplored location.
You have to see it at least once
“I love outdoor adventures like hiking and camping. I have a passion for exploring new places and I plan to continue doing so. There are times that the places we were getting to in Wadi Hawir were scary but it was all part of the adventure,” Ahmed said.
There are no facilities in the area. The closest village is about half an hour away so those who plan to venture out into Wadi Hawir have to observe all caution possible.
“I advise you not to go in winter. The water is hidden from the sun and the area is in the midst of mountains so it can get really cold,” Ahmed warned.
“I would certainly recommend this location to travelers and visitors in Oman. They have to see it at least once since it’s really a fascinating place to get lost on. But be sure to go with someone knowledgeable of the terrain,” he said.
If you need more details about Ahmed’s trip to Wadi Hawir, he can be contacted through his email firstname.lastname@example.org or send him a message on Instagram @ahmed_aljaabri.
Text by yeru ebuen
Photos by ahmed al jaabri