The First Place to See the Sun – Jebel Shams, Oman

There are many wadis, or canyons, that you can hike through in Oman, but probably the most famous of them all is one that you hike along the rim of it. It is connected to Oman’s tallest peak, Jebel Shams. It is a sacred peak for many of the people in Oman because it is the first place every day to see the sunrise. It is also a great location to go to for a hike, and during the month of December, the temperatures are perfect for making the attempt.

It may look scary from the pictures I am showing, but in reality, it is not that hard or stressful of a hike. There is more stress involved by making your way to the start of the hike as you need to drive 17 km on a bumpy dirt road that is sometimes so narrow that only one car can fit through it. But the hike itself has very little elevation gain. In fact, the way in is mostly downhill, and it is a gradual uphill hike to get back out. It says it takes four hours to go to the end and back, but it only took us three, and we had a stop for lunch. I guess it depends on how fast you want to move, and how many stops you are willing to make on the way.

There are a few goats that you will run into a long the way as well. Most of the time, they will leave you alone unless you pull out some food. This one ran all the way down a cliff in the hopes of getting some food as some as we had some lunch. Just like any wildlife, they do not need to be fed. There is plenty of food around for them to much on, and at numerous occasions, we came across goats high in the trees eating the branches that were higher up. I never knew that goats could climb trees, but this was not an uncommon sight on this hike.

There are domesticated goats around as well. At the beginning of the hike, there is a small ranch, and they must have just had a litter of kids because there were a bunch of them running around. Everywhere I turned, I was able to see them playing around with each other or jumping around the pens that were set up for them. The people that run the ranch have set up a small shop at the start of the hike where they sell key chains and bracelets made from the hair of the goats and sheep that they raise. They will also sell you some bottled drinks if you need some of that for the hike. I did not find them to be too pushy, but they will work in a way to talk to whoever starts or ends the hike.

The end of the hike will take you to a waterfall. I did not get to see the waterfall. It was December when I was taking the hike, and the waterfall had run dry, but I could definitely see the place where it would usually comes down. Even missing this sight this time around did not take away from the hike, and it was the perfect weather to be doing it at this time of the year. I could imagine it being a little too hot if I were to do it at any other time of the year.

And for those of you who are campers, there are many places around where you can pitch your tent after the hike. Oman does not regulate where you can camp, so you can find the perfect place for the sunset. If you want a little more comfort there are a couple of resorts, but they are a little overpriced, and service is an afterthought at them, so do not expect a lot if you plan at staying at one of them. Whereas, the price for camping is free, and you can set up right next to them. This was you can see that the last thing the sun hits in the country of Oman is the same place that it hits when it comes up in the morning, Jebel Shams.