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.

Pros: close to Guadalupe Mountain NP, an opportunity to spot a kangaroo rat or endemic moth species

Cons: not too many activities to enjoy, also the park is surrounded by an active missile range

We visited the place back in 2004 when it was still a national monument. Since 2019 it’s a national park.

Official website


Iceland is one of the best places to visit for landscape beauty, exploration, and photos. We spent 7 days visiting Iceland in 2009… and wish could go again to drive around it and maybe even hike Hvannadalshnúkur.

Here was our itinerary:

  1. The Golden Circle (Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss waterfall),
  2. Mount Hekla – one of the most active volcanos in Iceland.
  3. Landmannalaugar
  4. Skaftafell National Park, now part of established Vatnajökull National Park
  5. Snæfellsjökull national park
  6. Glymur waterfall
  7. Blue lagoon
  8. Reykjavik

Salalah revisited

Our second trip to Salalah to visit few places that we missed during our 2019 Khareef trip. We still have to visit again, but here is the list of eight new places we visited in January 2020. Note: subjective rating from * to ***** based on appeal and beauty:

  1. Abandoned ship at Efftalqut ***
  2. The road to Shaat hidden beach ****
  3. Frankincense Wadi **
  4. Port of Salalah and … turtles **
  5. Canyonlands of Dhofar **
  6. Wadi Ayoon **
  7. The road to Hasik ****

Abandoned ship at Efftalqut


The road to Shaat hidden beach

On the way to the hidden beach, Shaat, Dhofar, Oman

Frankincense Wadi / Wadi Dawkah

Frankincense tree

Port of Salalah and … turtles

Port of Salalah

Canyonlands of Dhofar

Canyonlands of Dhofar

Ayoon wadi

Ayoon

The road to Hasik

Amazing coastline on the way to Hasik

We visited few canyons north of Salalah, Dhofar as part of our Salalah Revisited trip… great landscapes and lookouts, but no descriptions or general directions. One place to share is this one.

We had to cross one army check point to get there. Lots of places on the way to explore.


Wadi Ayoon

About 30 mins away from Salalah there is a nice camping spot with few lookouts. Here is the location. It is possible to go all the way down and explore the wadi further.



Port of Salalah

Port of Salalah, Dhofar, Oman

Port of Salalah is the largest port in Oman. The port operates both a container terminal and a general cargo terminal, and serves the local and regional community including humanitarian assistance to Yemen.

Interestingly, right next to the port there is a tidal river full of elusive turtles. Check out the video.



Few books on meditation and mindfulness I recommend to read or listen to… and while reading is important, perhaps practicing it is even more! 🙂


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Capturing photos and videos

DJI Mavic Mini


GoPro HERO8 Black


iPhone X Max – reliable and love the large screen


iPhone 7 – using as a back-up phone, also for taking time lapse videos, like in this one.


Nikon DS60 with Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor Lens – old but reliable and keeping it mostly to take nature shots like these:


Osmo Mobile 2


Editing videos

Final Cut Pro on iMac


Finding new trails and exciting places

Maps.me – lots of places and trails for you to explore. The app has the best lookouts marked.


Wikiloc – check out our account. Very good app with lots of trails to follow.


MotionX-GPS


Shaat overlook and hidden beach

What a great destination for a day trip from Salalah, Dhofar?

On the way to Shaat you can also stop at Fazayah beach and Mughsail. There are 3 highlights to enjoy at Shaat: the lookouts, hidden beach, and sinkhole… also if you’re lucky you may get invited by a local family for dinner and some fresh camel milk.


Pros: beautiful drive, solitude, lookouts, camels and cows

Cons: rubbish on the beach

To visit the hidden beach you will need a 4×4 car. An off-road path goes along the cliff with plenty of lookouts, camels, cows, and places for a picnic. We visited in January 2020 and it could be quite challenging to go all the way down to the beach during Khareef season. Here is the location, the road is not on Google Maps, but it’s hard to get lost and if you want precise driections download Maps.me.



Abandoned ship at Efftalqut

About 1 hour away from Salalah there is a beautiful cliff and a picturesque beach (Efftaqut). A short, but requiring 4×4, drive from the beach there is a spot you can enjoy a view of an abandoned ship. Quite a surreal view… Check out the video.


Pros: amazing landscapes, imposing cliffs, wildlife (arabian fox)

Cons: need 4×4, lots of exposed cliffs so be extra careful, probably wouldn’t try to go there during Khareef season

There is many roads leading there, so use your judgment. Here is the location.

We don’t know what was the story behind the ship that may have originated from Bahrain. But here is what I could find on the International Labor Website under reported incidents: Crew have completed their contracts and none of the wages have been paid by the owner. Most safety certificates have expired. The vessel is unseaworthy and lacks necessary spares and stores. The Master has been on board for over 12 months, some crew over six months. No official contact with the owner or management since 08 August when satellite communication lost. The crew were trapped in Yemen for over a month in conditions of extreme hardship. The vessel is again about to run out of MGO and will be in blackout making it extremely unsafe (source).