- Travel Info
Distance from Muscat – 200 km (to Al Hamra)
Average drive time – 2.5 hours
How to get there – Saloon cars and 4-wheel drives can be hired from Car rental agencies. Four wheel drives are required for off road into the mountains and wadis.
Beyond Nizwa, the southern flanks of the Western Hajar Mountains can be readily seen rising over 2000 meters above the surrounding countryside. Within these mountains, rugged networks of wadi channels have carved networks of dramatic canyons and caves. The most fertile of these have been cultivated by the hardy shuwawis, mountain people, who have adapted to this harsh lifestyle under the tropic sun. At Wadi Tanuf, the ever-flowing springs are tapped to produce a commercially popular brand of drinking water. In Al Hamra, 400-year-old mud houses are still standing and occupied to this day. Out along the nearby wadi at Hasat bin Sult Rock, ancient petroglyphs estimated to be over 3000 years old lie in wait. The dark reaches of the Falahi/Hoti cave system await intrepid spelunkers. Hidden neatly in a crevasse on the mountainside lies Misfah al Aberdeen, a garden paradise of humble farmers and herders.
To the west of Al Hamra is the road to Jebel Shams(mountain of the Sun), the tallest peak in Oman at 3010 meters. Here it is where you can find one of Oman’s greatest natural wonders, the Wadi Nakhr Gorge. Inside the canyon, you can haggle with the local rug weavers, trek to the cliff dwellings along the canyon rim and visit remains of towns once occupied ages ago by Persian settlers. Rock climbers will want to test their mettle on the stony crags of Jebel Misht while antiquarians will want to visit the mysterious Beehive Tombs of Bat.