For anyone who loves going outdoors and being around nature, Al Hajar Mountains is the perfect place. It is one of the biggest tourist destinations in Oman and with good reason. After, all it’s home to some of the most famous attractions in the Middle East, viz, Jebel Shams (Oman’s highest mountain), Wadi Ghul (the Grand Canyon of Arabia), and Jebel Akhdar (the fruit bowl of Oman).
Visit Al Hajar Mountains
Things to do
Al Hajar Mountains are a spectacular sight. It’s one of the greatest natural wonders in the Middle East. There are plenty of things to do, especially if you are adventurous.
Oman’s highest mountain Jebel Sham is a popular trekking spot for the views. From the top, you’ll get to see the breathtaking panorama of Wadi Ghul, The Grand Canyon of Arabia. There are many hiking trails in Jebel Sham, but the most popular is the Balcony Walk. It’s a 5 km walk, which goes along the Wadi Ghul Canyon. It’s not a challenging trek, and it rewards you with a jaw-dropping view of the canyon.
Besides hiking, you can also opt for a bit of off-road driving along the Wadi Bani Auf. Considered by many as Oman’s most impressive dirt track, this winding dirt road is not for the faint of heart. If you are looking for a way to get an adrenaline rush, then there’s no better place than this vertigo-inducing dirt track. Along, the way, don’t forget to stop and take in the impressive scenery all around you.
WIthin the Wadi Bani Auf is an impressive canyon known as The Snake Canyon. It’s so-called because of the way it winds around like a snake. You can explore the narrow Snake Canyon using a combination of trekking, abseiling down massive cliffs, and swimming. It’s an amazing experience that is highly recommended for any adventurers, explorers, and outdoor lovers.
Experience Mediterranean weather in Jebel al Akhdar(Green Mountain). This lush green area is famous for its terraced fruit orchards and high-quality pomegranates, apricots, and fragrant damask roses. Explore the area, and you’ll come across villages with well-tended orchards and making rosewater from the fragrant roses.
Al Hajar Mountains have played a significant part in Oman’s history. If you love history, then a tour of the mountains is a must. Some of the most important Omani historical sites are located within the area. The mountains are home to the famous 3rd millennium BCE beehive-shaped tombs sites of Bat, Al Khutm, and Al-Ayn. Visit the restored Nakhal and Rustaq Forts and the mountain village, Misfat al Abriyyin, to get an in-depth look at how Omanis once lived in the stunning Al Hajar mountains.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit is between October and March during the winter months. The weather during this time is cooler with little to no rainfall, except for a few scattered showers. With such pleasant weather, it’s best to explore the area on foot. For longer distances, you can use a car, preferably 4×4 SUVs.
How to reach
If you are traveling from Muscat, Highways 15 and 21 will provide access to the southern reaches of the range, and Highways 13 and 11 will provide access from the north. If you are traveling from the UAE, you’ll arrive via Highway 21.
Flash floods are frequent in the canyons, especially if its raining. Don’t venture into the canyons if the sky looks overcast.
Remember to bring your food, water, camping or hiking equipment. There are very few villages in the area, and it’s unlikely that you’ll find any shops or people.
Mobile phone coverage is limited in the area. So, make sure you take proper precautions.
Above all, remember to have fun and enjoy every moment you spend in this spectacular place.