One reason to join a MeetUp group like Muscat Adventures and Social Club is to go to places that one would not dare to venture alone. The hike to Tahery Cave, in the Sharqiyah region of Oman, is one of these places. Firstly, you need a decent 4×4 skills to get to the trail-head. Secondly, the navigation to the cave is tricky. We wandered off our hike on the way back, despite being accompanied by a very experienced guide that visited the place handful of times. No videos from the hike, but you can check out some photo slides below.

Here are directions to the start of the trail. 4WD highly recommended.

And here is the map (one way only)

There is also a possibility to hike through the cave and spend a night inside. Probably the best is to join an experienced company like Husaak Adventures.

Visited in 2019

Oman Aquarium, Muscat ***

The Oman Aquarium started in 2019, it is a great place especially for kids to get close to various fishes and animals. The aquarium features a large number of local Omani fish and animals including sharks, sting rays, turtles, scorpions – as well as many non-local fauna such as penguins and crocodiles. The place is located in the Mall of Muscat. If you visit, do not forget there is an additional option to feed the fishes and turtles.

Short video from the visit to the aquarium
And the longer one…

Both videos were done using the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 and were edited in Final Cut Pro X. The music was composed using Garage Band.

Australia, National Park

Pros: Wildlife, spectacular mountain landscapes, a giant stone crater called Wilpena Pound, 4WD

Cons: Very hot in the summer, flies everywhere

One of the best national parks in Australia. It’s a long drive from Adelaide, but absolutely worthy. We recommend you take a 4WD car to enjoy Barachina Gorge. Also, although very expensive, take a flight over Wilpena Pound with one of the companies – we took an early morning flight. We didn’t go up Mount St Mary peak as it was too hot, and we also heard the walk is discouraged by the indigenous people. Please also check out the official website of the park.

Wadi Ash Shuwaymiyah in Oman is an amazing wadi for adventure-seeking travellers who want to test their off-road and navigating skills.

Pros: fantastic off-roading, amazing scenery, roaming camels

Cons: 4×4 driving can be challenging and the path hard to follow – most likely destroyed by flashfloods; lastly, you probably need a full day to properly explore the wadi

We visited the place on the way to Salalah from Muscat in November 2020. Here are directions we followed in the wadi.

Ras Madrakah is an excellent day-trip opportunity for anyone visiting Duqm or on the way to Salalah (through Hasik). Here are coordinates of our trip including some tough off-roading to get to some beautiful beach locations.

Pros: black rocks and golden sand beaches, birds, fantastic camping, great off-roading, great weather even during the hot summer months

Cons: rubbish everywhere especially close to fishing boats, the place looks like a fantastic hiking spot yet no established trails

More: Ras Madraka: The coastal wonder of the Wilayat of Duqm

Pros: beautiful place near Al Khaluf village to enjoy the sea and the sand, lots of birds, great 4×4 drive

Cons: know when the tide is low, so you can drive on the beach; can be windy, so plan your camping spot well.

The place is well described in Oman Off-Road bookRoute 36. Here are my coordinates on how to get there and how to get back to complete the loop. We found only one bit on the track a bit challenging, but overall it’s an easy 4×4 drive – you can see our video here. Lastly, very good mobile coverage, especially when you’re on top of the dunes.

About 3 hours away from the capital of Oman, Muscat, there is a beautiful stretch of sand that borders the Arabian Sea called Wahiba Sands. When you’re in Oman, it’s a must experience. You will have broadly two options, either stay in one of the camps (e.g.  Arabian Oryx Camp or 1000 Nights Camp or many other…) or camping anywhere if you fancy a rougher experience.

Here are some videos from our ‘Crossing Wahiba Sands’ trip back in December 2018 as well as 1) a time-lapse sunset taken with GoPro8 in November 2019, 2) drone footage from the trip in November 2020.

Crossing the desert

Sunset over Wahiba Sands, Oman

Oman has several places where you can find pink lakes. There are two tricky bits before you get disappointed. The first one is that most of the lakes are not always pink and that greatly depends on the weather, tides, or season. And the second one is that they are best enjoyed from the air.

Here are four places where you can enjoy them: 1) Ruwais Pink Lake, 2) Duqm Salt Factory, 3) Al Jumaylah Pink Lake, and 4) Salt Flats on the way to Shannah Port.

We were very excited to find that there are petroglyphs in Musandam – relics of pre-Islamic culture in Oman. The two places in Musandam are located in Jebel Al Harim and Qida village.

Jebel Al Harim petroglyphs are located close to the peak of Jebel Harim. If you come from Khasab, just before the military base and very close to the helipad, there are a bunch of tracks leading to a beautiful collection of petroglyphs carved into hard rock boulders. It’s a scenic drive to get to the place, but you will need a 4WD and skillful driver. Also, pay attention to the nearby rocks to find some fossils. We were lucky to see three Arabian foxes running across the ridge.

Qida village petroglyphs can be seen from the road and you can get there even in a sedan. Here is the location. Please note the area is overrun by goats. There are several different rocks and boulders with petroglyphs on them. If you walk around around or even climb on them you will spot even more. I will leave to your imagination what is depicted on the petroglyphs. Apparently, there is a detailed description provided at Khasab Castle which as of late 2020 was closed due to the Covid.

If you like both places you may want to check out beehive tombs (e.g. in Al Ayn) and carvings near Al Hamra.

Other links:

10 Great Hikes in Muscat, Oman

If you love hiking happend to travel to Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman sometime between October and March, here is the list of my favourite ones. All of them are less than 1 hour away drive from Muscat.

  1. Crossing Muscat Mountains – great day walk to cross the Muscat mountains. You will need another car to wait for you on the other side. If you hike after some rain, you can enjoy some unexpected greenery.
  2. Sa’al steps – classic hike, fantastic walk to check amazing views, perfect in an early morning.
  3. Mutrah Geotrek – another classic short hike with some nice geological features.
  4. Qantab – few options to explore and enjoy amazing views of Qantab village and beach.
  5. Al Munkhariq trek at Wadi Sa’al – you may not want to explore the wadi, but just to enjoy and wonder in awe how the hole (5 minutes from the start) was created.
  6. Wadi Aqbiyah – pleasant walk with a couple of swim holes close to the start, you can walk as far as you can.
  7. White Mountain – even the start of the trail presents some fantastic views of Muscat.
  8. Mount Baushar – it is about 650m of vertical climb. Beautiful views of Muscat.
  9. Table Top Mountain – any person travelling to Nizwa will notice this flat mountain. Although the top of the mountain is quite flat, the actual trek to the top is a steep scramble that needs a bit of stamina and caution.
  10. La Lasefe cave – well marked, but the relatively difficult trail leading to an abandoned mine.

Al Lasefe cave hike, Muscat, Oman

Not sure if that’s the right name of the cave. The place is very close to Muscat, yet is quite inaccessible. You can park your car next to Highway 17 or if you have 4×4 you can save up about 2km on walking. A well-marked trail will lead you to an interesting cave on the top of a mountain. Inside, you may see Arabian paper wasps and bats. Please check out my video.

Here are directions and coordinates for the hike.

The hike is very close from Sa’al Mountain. A short walk leads to a hole and a cave feature that is used for beginner abseilers. You can continue further to explore the wadi. Here are coordinates and for more info check out this website.

Rock Garden, Duqm ***

What a surprise in the middle of the industrial area of Duqm. This is a great place to explore and wander. Leave ample time to walk around, find fossils, and take amazing shots. This place is best visited at sunrise and sunset. Please note you NEED to submit Rock Garden permit application on Special Economic Zone Authority website, most likely a day before.

A minor improvement could be made to make sure that the site, as fragile as it is, is better protected. Also, some description of what the rocks are, how they were created, what all the fossils were would be great.

But then again, a fantastic experience for anyone interested in the natural beauty of Al Wusta and Oman.

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