Wadis and geotourism in Aqbiyah, Muscat
Anyone visiting Muscat must notice the majestic mountains bordering the city. Few people actually venture to explore the area as the wadis are wild and underdeveloped, unlike Wadi Daqah Dam. The mountains feature heaps of geological gems that are worth exploring. Check out The Oman Geo-heritage Guide app (apple android web) which is a great resource with both descriptions and directions to the wonders of geology in Oman.
My morning trip in December 2019 to one of the areas, Al Aqbiyah, covered four attractions, including two geological wonders: Wadi Aqbiyah (hike), Ayn Al Hammam (hot spring), Wadi Hammam lookout, and Al Awabi quartzite site.
1. Wadi Aqbiyah hike
It’s a very scenic wadi with a few swimming holes very close to the start of the trail. Please check the coordinates for the hike here.
Our short video from the trip.
2. Wadi Hamam lookout
You can find this scenic look out here
3. Ayn Al Hammam (hot spring)
It’s largely underdeveloped site that local people use as a wash place. The water is actually too hot to have a bathe.
4. Al Awabi Quartzite
The place is not marked on Google Maps, but you can find the location in the Oman Geo-heritage Guide app. The ruble that you will see next to the road is Al Awabi quartzite. These rocks are considered to be semi-gemstones. From the Omantourism.gov.om website: the Cretaceous quartzite here originated in the time of the dinosaurs around 90 million years ago. The quartzite was originally sandstone. It changed its structure (metamorphosed) under heavy pressure when the ocean floor was pushed over oceanic sediments and the Arabian plate. This caused the quartz crystals within the sandstone to change, recrystallizing to form a new rock: quartzite. (source)