Depending on whether they have water, the wadis in Oman turn into dreamlike oases with Caribbean flair or lonely desert valleys with bizarre rock formations that are only accessible by off-road vehicle.
Hardly anywhere else in the world is the palette of wadis as diverse as in Oman. The dry valleys are covered with gnarled incense trees or Caribbean-looking palm trees, built up with mud huts and concrete bridges, barren and dry or lushly green including ponds and waterfalls.
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PICTURES: The 10 most beautiful wadis in Oman
Bathing, hiking and wild camping, off-roading over scree or simply enjoying the solitary beauty of nature - a holiday in Oman offers the right destination for every wadi adventure!
The picturesque Wadi Shab impresses with its vertical rock faces, at the bottom of which turquoise pools glisten in the sun. Fruit trees and palm trees on the shore add to the idyllic flair of Wadi Shab. The best way to explore Wadi Shab is on foot; a 15km hiking trail is signposted.
The picturesque Wadi Tiwi is right next to the equally gorgeous Wadi Shab. The air is fragrant with mangoes, bananas and figs and filled with birdsong and fluttering butterflies. The Wadi Tiwi can be explored by off-road vehicle. A stony road connects several small villages.
In Wadi Suwayh, idyllic pools, gardens and waterfalls line an 11km road, with steep walls and bizarre rock formations towering between them. The wadi can be explored on foot or by car, but is a dead end.
Less green and idyllic but all the more impressive is the Wadi Nakhar. It is not for nothing that the spectacular gorge is also called the "Grand Canyon of Oman". A former donkey trail leads along the abyss, which can be up to 1,000 metres deep, and hikers are usually accompanied only by vultures. The most beautiful view of the Wadi Nakhar is offered by a high plateau at an altitude of 2,000 metres.
Wadi bani Khalid
If you are planning a bathing holiday in Oman, Wadi bani Khalid is the place to go. In the middle of the Al Hajar mountain desert, the most famous oasis in Oman has water all year round. Its centre is a huge palm-lined pond with natural rock pools inviting visitors to take a dip in the cool water.
Wadi Dhayqah, with its spectacular cliffs, is an ideal day trip from Muscat. It is the largest wadi in Oman that has water all year round. The vegetation in Wadi Dhayqah is correspondingly lush. The 15km long hiking trail is lined with tall reeds growing along a crystal clear river. Its highlights include the Devil's Gorge and the largest dam in the Gulf States.
Wadi bani Habib
The Wadi bani Habib is less scenic, but more interesting from a historical point of view. In the middle of the Jebel Akhdar mountain range lies a lonely mountain village that was once built entirely of mud and is now completely abandoned. The decaying houses nestle against the steep flank of the mountain like toys.
The completely natural Wadi Shuwaymiyah is one of the most beautiful wadis in Oman, but due to its remote location it is hardly mentioned in any travel guide and is therefore still considered a real insider tip. Located in the middle of the inhospitable stone desert Jiddat al-Harasis, it can be explored by off-road vehicle. On the coast, a kilometre-long sandy beach beckons, which is one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in Oman and is also mostly deserted.
The Wadi Dawkah is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because, as the "cradle of frankincense", the precious gift of Allah has been extracted here for 3,000 years. Along the legendary Incense Road, which leads to Petra in Jordan, the approximately 5,000 incense trees are still cultivated using purely traditional methods. The frankincense from the Wadi Dawkah is not quite as valuable today as it was back then, but it is still considered the best frankincense in the world.
The rocky Wadi Afawal is home to a masterpiece of Omani road construction. The so-called Zig Zag Road climbs an almost vertical rock face in tight hairpin bends. Over a length of 5 kilometres, the impressive "zig-zag road" overcomes 500 metres in altitude!