My recent trip to Oman was interesting for many reasons, but one thing that will stick with me forever is the sight of the glorious wadis for which the country is known.
A Wadi is the Omani word for valley and they are usually places of exquisite natural beauty. Some are not easy to get to, and require 4×4 vehicles to travel through, but I like to think of wadis as oases in the desert. When you think of the terrain of Oman, you are quite right when you presume it is pretty much all mountains and sand (outside of Muscat and Salalah), so the sights and sounds of the country’s top wadis really are an amazing thing.
Omani tribes have lived in the wadis for thousands of years and when witnessing these communities in the flesh it reminded me of my experiences with the Berbers in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. It was fascinating to see how local people lived in such isolated (albeit beautiful) locations. Omani people from around the country also visit wadis, especially in peak holiday season, as they are a great place to unwind and cool off from the harsh Arabian sunrays! The greenery of the wadis not only provide a welcome colourful respite from the sands and mountains, but also provide more oxygen and allow birdlife and some wildlife to flourish too.
Some of the most famous wadis in Oman are Wadi Bani Awf, Wadi Danak, Wadi Bani Khalid, and Wadi Al Shab. They are located all over the country, and it would be impossible for anyone to visit them all. However, when you fly to Muscat, the closest one to your hotel will probably be Wadi Al Arbeieen, which is actually situated just outside the capital (80 minutes drive each way). You will not regret the time taken on this journey when you are bathed in the cool pools of the wadis!