Mysterious Tahery Cave hike in the Sharqiyah region of Oman

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.

Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, Australia *****

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.

Sculptures by the Sea, Sydney 2023

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In the serene proximity of the bustling Benidorm, stands the stoic Puig Campana, a majestic peak that not only dominates the landscape but also entwines itself within the local myths and cultural tapestry of the region.

This past late September (2023), I found myself tracing the trails of this monumental mountain, embracing a solo journey that promised both adventure and introspection amidst nature’s quietude.

Challenging Ascents and Nature’s Quietude

The ascent of Puig Campana, while offering an ethereal encounter with nature, is undeniably challenging. The trail undertakes an almost 1,000 m elevation gain, weaving through varied terrains that demand both physical and mental fortitude. From the get-go, I found that the earlier you commence your hike, the better, as the mountain can be merciless under the midday sun, especially during those lingering warm September days.

My hike, which began in the cool, ambient light of early morning, unfolded across 4 hours and 30 minutes. The initial portions of the trail teased with gentle slopes, slowly unraveling into steeper, more arduous paths as I ascended. In some sections, the terrain morphed into a slippery challenge, where every step needed to be measured and cautious.

Navigational Challenges: Marks and Paths

It’s imperative for solo hikers to note that the trails of Puig Campana, while well-trodden, can easily sway you into disarray. The marks along the path, which guide your way, demand vigilant attention, as the mountain has a whimsical way of enveloping you into its vastness, making it somewhat easy to meander off course.

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Breakfast Atop the World

Upon reaching the summit after navigating through its challenging terrains, I was embraced by a panoramic spectacle that rendered the arduous journey immensely worthwhile. The juxtaposition of the tranquil Mediterranean Sea against the rugged inland landscapes was a feast for the eyes. I afforded myself a leisurely 45 minutes atop, where breakfast amidst the clouds, and against the backdrop of distant landscapes, became a memory etched into permanence.

Breakfast with a view

Legends Whispers and the Descent

Even amidst the solitude, one is never truly alone on Puig Campana. The legends, notably of Roldan the giant and his frantic slash at the mountain, echoed with every gust of wind, adding a mythical dimension to the tangible experience. The descent, while easier on the lungs, demands respect for the knees and unwavering concentration, as the steep, at times slippery pathways are relentless.

In the Footsteps of Giants

Trekking through Puig Campana, from its mythical legends, challenging terrains, and the surreal tranquility atop, encapsulates a unique experience that is both humbling and exhilarating. While the mountain stands stoic, the tales, experiences, and memories it fosters are as varied and dynamic as the hikers that grace its paths.

Whether you choose to embark on this journey solo or with companions, Puig Campana stands, as it always has, a silent guardian over Benidorm, whispering tales of giants, warriors, and adventurers willing to embrace its journey.

Explore Further:

  1. Benidorm Tourism: Visit Benidorm Official Website
  2. Puig Campana Trails: Costa Blanca Mountain Walks
  3. Spanish Legends: Myths and Legends of Spain

As always, prioritizing safety, respect for the environment, and adherence to local guidelines ensure that the trails and tales of Puig Campana continue to be passed down through generations of adventurers.

The twelve grapes of luck

The Twelve Grapes (las doce uvas de la suerte) is a Spanish tradition that consists of eating a grape with each of the twelve clock bell strikes at midnight of December 31 to welcome the New Year.

Each grape and clock bell strike represents each of the coming twelve months.

This one we did during hotel quarantine (covid related) in Sydney, Australia @adina.

Cons: too far away (about 1000 km from Sydney), dry and hot weather in summer, not much uniqueness in terms of flora and fauna

Pros: historical significance

Visiting Lake Mungo in Australia may not be worth your time for a few reasons. We visited the park in 2014.

First, the lake is located in a remote area of the country, which can make it difficult and time-consuming to get to.

Second, the lake itself is often dry and does not have much in the way of scenic beauty or recreational activities.

Finally, the main attraction at Lake Mungo is the Mungo Man, the remains of an Indigenous Australian who lived at the site more than 40,000 years ago. While this may be of historical and cultural interest, it may not be worth the time and effort it takes to get to the lake.

However, there are still few interesting things to see and experience at Lake Mungo.

One of the main attractions at Lake Mungo is the Mungo Man, the remains of an Indigenous Australian who lived at the site more than 40,000 years ago. The discovery of the Mungo Man was a significant scientific and cultural find, and visitors to the site can learn about the history and significance of this ancient human.

Another interesting aspect of Lake Mungo is the landscape itself. The lake is located in a remote and sparsely populated area of Australia, and the surrounding landscape is characterized by arid plains, sand dunes, and saltbush. Visitors to the site can explore the unique natural environment, and see a variety of native plants and animals, especially when exploring at sunrise.

In addition to the Mungo Man and the natural environment, Lake Mungo is also home to a variety of cultural and historical sites. The Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area is of significant cultural importance to the Indigenous Australians who have lived in the region for thousands of years (UNESCO World Heritage), and visitors to Lake Mungo can learn about the culture and history of these people.

Coastal walk at Bouddi National park

Pros: landscapes, swimming at many beaches

Cons: can get busy on weekends

Bouddi National Park has an amazing coastal line and unique flora. The park is named after the local Aboriginal name of the area. There are still lots of Aboriginal sites to be found in the park, such as middens, engravings, and rock shelters – but we couldn’t find any on our three visits to the park.

The park has many isolated beaches with many only accessible via walking tracks.

This is when history stops… a sorrowful day in history with the Queen’s departure. For many, she was the most visible (and only) monarch they could watch and experience. We got a chance to see her at the Royal Ascot in 2010.

The Best Hats at the Royal Ascot

We got a chance to visit the Royal Ascot in 2010. The race is Britain’s most valuable one, attracting many of the world’s finest racehorses to compete for millions of pounds in prize money.

Pros: hats, an opportunity to see the Royalty

Cons: wearing jeans is not permitted :), an opportunity to lose (or win) some money betting on horses

It could have been because of limited air travel due to the covid situation. But, we thoroughly enjoyed views from the Emirates A380 on the way from Dubai to Madrid. The fantastic views included the great pyramids, Nile River, Gulf of Aqaba, Sinai peninsula, Gulf of Suez (Egypt), Adbullah royal reserve (Saudi Arabia), Formentera Island (Spain), and Pobles del Sud, Valencia (Spain).

The Rugged Road to Jebel Al Harim, Musandam – Oman

Jebel al-Harim (also known Jebel As-Sayah or Mountain of Women) is an impressive mountain peak reaching 2056m above the sea level. It is the highest mountain in Musandam – a peninsula that is part of Oman, bordering the United Arab Emirates. The peak, also known as Jebel as-Sayh is the highest mountain in Musandam. The road to the summit is totally unpaved and pretty rough with 9 switchbacks through limestone formations. The summit of the mountain is off-limits to the public as there is a radar station used for military purposes. The peak got its name from the days when local women would retreat to caves up here in order to avoid being carried off by pirates or rival tribes when men were going for hunting or fishing for a long time.

The route is part of Route 3 in 38 Adventurous routs – Oman – Off-Road book.

Pros: striking scenery, petroglyphs, camping at altitude, cooler than Khasab by about 5-10C

Cons: stick to the main road if you travel in one car

Other resources:

The Wild Road to Jebel al-Harim

Photo by Rawpixel

Many parents today struggle with the conundrum of how to get their children to spend more time outside. Between a hyper-connection to their technology and being overscheduled, kids aren’t taught that time outdoors is a priority. Unfortunately, this is leading to what experts refer to as nature-deficit disorder. With the potential for indelible effects physically and mentally, it’s important for families to make time outdoors an integral part of living. 

And while not everyone is in a position to drop everything and head to the forest at a moment’s notice, there are still ways to make connecting with nature a regular occurrence. Here are some suggestions from The Gourmet Campers to get you started.

Start Close to Home

If you want your children to get reacquainted with nature, you don’t have to take off work and drive cross-country to a national park. Rather, you can start right in your own backyard with some simple backyard camping. And if your backyard needs a fence or a little landscaping to get it ready, don’t worry; home improvements like this also boost your home’s appraisal value, making them an excellent investment. 

Another option is a trip to the zoo so that your kids can enjoy the many natural benefits of seeing and touching animals. Live Science also suggests that if you want your kids to spend more time outside, you lead by example. That can include family trips to places like the beach or your local park. Likewise, from astronomy to fossil-hunting, here are 9 Great Outdoor Learning Activities for Springtime, thanks to Earth Science Jr.

Time to Branch Out

If fresh air and exercise are what you’re after, here are 7 Important Ways Hiking Strengthens the Family Bond. You could also load up the family for a camping trip, which is not only a great way to disengage from the gadgets but also includes plenty of fresh air, learning opportunities, and exercise that reduce stress and improve sleep. Or if your kids are craving fresh air but want some time on their own, maybe they’d enjoy a trip to a summer camp.

There’s no denying all the many benefits of modern technology. But nothing can replace the benefits of good, old-fashioned exercise, sunlight, and fresh air. So give your children what they need by turning off the devices and rediscovering the healing beauty of the natural world.

The Gourmet Campers are a family of FOUR that loves travelling, exploring new places, and enjoying live events. The blog is less about ‘gourmet’, but sometimes we overdo our camping culinary experiences. Please enjoy and subscribe to our Youtube Channel.