by MARYBELLE BUTLER
Oman is a fabulous destination for adventure and expedition. I have been visiting the sultanate during school holidays for the last three years and have had some amazing experiences exploring wadis, beaches and deserts in easy reach of Muscat. Whether seeking the thrills of adrenaline fuelled cannoning adventure, or the awe of a desert at night, the key is a perfect guide.
I have been exploring Oman under the careful guidance of Juma Al Nadhairi of Wadi Shab adventures. Our most recent expedition was a day trip to Wadi Tiwi, Juma’s home wadi which runs through the village where he was born and raised and where his family still live. We have been adventuring with Juma for several years, and he is the sort of guide that parents can trust, so he is the ideal choice for a day trip outside of Muscat with a group of friends.
Trying to wake up three teenagers is never easy, let alone at 6 am on a Saturday morning. However, after an hour of grumbling we were successfully in the car only thirty minutes behind schedule, setting out for Wadi Tiwi with my brother and our friend Aaron; we met Juma at the bottom of the wadi where it meets the sea, and travelled up the wadi by a narrow concrete road hanging on the side of the gorge. After about 5km we came to the beautiful villages of Al Husn and Barat Bedah where the roads narrowed and turned precariously past traditional square houses with flat roofs and decorated gates painted to match the blue of the sky and pale green of the shimmering wadi water. The roads narrowed further and the rooftops began to glow yellow as the Tiwi date harvesters left them to dry in the village of Sayma, and in Juma’s stunning home village of Sawi from which we carried on to the uppermost village in the Wadi, Mibam. We left the car and began our hike through the plantation of date palms by walking along the filage, speaking to several locals and meeting many of Juma’s friends and date harvesters where Juma made sure to point out the traditions of the villages and introduce us to as many people as possible.
After a ten-minute walk, down a few steep steps and along the filage walls we came to the top of the wadi where the first of many waterfalls cut out of the rock face into a deep pool below. We tracked across the rocks to the top of an abseil stone face and began, what turned out to be, one of my most challenging wadi experiences so far.
Juma had been chatting to us throughout our walk, telling us all about the traditions of his village and asking us questions but also assessing our fitness levels through the initial part of the trek. Nevertheless, Juma accompanied each of us down the abseil individually, nimbly skipping back up the rock face to help the next person. The slippery rocks were challenging and it was a comfort to have him showing us exactly what to do, bracing out steps and showing us where to place our feet, and always cheering us on for each jump by shouting ‘mumtaz’ at us at every step.
The next hour was spent swimming through crystal pools and scrambling over rocks and water slides, Wadi Tiwi rapidly became the prettiest wadi I have ever explored. We decided to tackle only half the full wadi as the rest turned dryer and the day was warming up, so after a break under a beautiful waterfall, we began our trek back up the wadi to our starting point.
We spent the adventure with Juma chatting to us and teaching us Arabic words while helped him improve his knowledge of English idioms. It was wonderful to trek with him through his home wadi. A terrific combination of local culture, a thrilling 4×4 drive and an amazing wadi adventure.
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Wadi Shab Adventures
+968 9970 9304