If many of the wadis of Oman are dry, and are a great playground to hike or climb, the wet canyons are the perfect place to cool down and have some serious fun! From just swimming to going on an intense canyoning adventure, the warmth of the crystal-clear waters makes the experience very enjoyable. We have listed some of the best wadis of Oman in this visual tour to help you choose the ones to your taste.
Before we jump in, a tip for female travellers: please abide by local traditions. If Omani women tend to go with their abayas, it is completely fine if you go in the water with a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. No worries, you will dry very fast, and the upside is that it is an excellent protection against sun burns. Bikinis are a no go! The only places in Oman where you can wear a bikini is by the side of private swimming pools and some hotels.
After paying a fisherman to cross a piece of water by boat, hike up the wadi along the falaj until you see the first pools about half an hour in. Wadi Shab is our favourite: beautiful pools, stunning views, and for the more adventurous, a key hole in the rocks leads to a head-wide tunnel one can swim through to find a secret waterfall.
Accessing Snake Canyon is an adventure in itself and will take you on the most beautiful dirt track of the sultanate. Once at the foot of the canyon, choose your fun between right and left fork or adventurous and technical or more easy-going. Don’t venture on your own: you need a couple of good guides and some gear (see travel tips below)!
Al Hayer Falls
Al Hayer Falls is actually downstream of the very touristy Wadi Bani Khalid. It is surprising how quiet this part of the canyon is, just a few kilometres away from the most developed wadi of the country! To reach Al Hayer Falls, you will have to embark on a fun canyoning adventure, jumping into pools, sliding, wading and swimming. Careful, the canyon changes based on the water levels and the path is not marked: you will need a guide to take you through who will also arrange transport in ant out (see travel tips below).
Wadi Bani Khalid
You will find everything you may need here from restrooms and restaurants to lifeguards on duty. Wadi Bani Khalid is very developed and is a locals’ favourite where families enjoy the day by the water with enough toys and food for everyone! If you like it quiet, arrive very early before the hords of tourists arrive.
Marcella van Alphen & Claire Lessiau (text & photographs)
- For your guided adventures, get in touch with twenty3 extreme, the only insured outdoor company in Oman with professional guides and top of the line equipment.
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