The Wadi

The rocky path will not always be true,
But it will still lead you to the same place.
Out of the mountains, a wadi once grew,
And hid a paradise in the cliff face.
There is a stream that turned the valley green,
With time, eroding away the hard stone,
Leaving behind swimming holes so serene
That humankind could not leave them alone.
They will travel from every corner
To find some fun in this famous canyon.
What ails them, they think they will find a cure
After a week long holiday is done.
Don’t tell them that the wadi will forget
Every person it helped get wet.

Wadi Shab – Tiwi, Oman

The term, wadi, is thrown around a lot in the Middle East, and it does not take long to figure out that it just means canyon. There are thousands of wadis all over the Middle East, and if you find the better ones, you will discover an amazing hike that will take you to some really cool places. One of the better ones, called Wadi Shab, is located outside of the small town of Tiwi in Oman.

It is located right off of the highway, and there are plenty of signs that will point you the right direction. The hike is absolutely beautiful, and there are dramatic views of mountains on either side of the path, but this is not the reason to make it out this way.

A river helped to carve out this valley, and as you hike through the canyon, it is always on either side of you. Sometimes it is nothing more than a stream; whereas at other points along the way, you will find that you can jump off cliff faces into deep pools, or just go out wading into the cool water that is so refreshing on a hot, desert day.

At the very end of the canyon, you do have to take off your hiking boots, and dip in the water if you wish to make it the whole way. There is a cave at the end that boasts about an underground waterfall, and this is the final destination of many of the people who make it out this way. It is an amazing sight, but it is also fun to swim in the water, and let the tiny fish pick off the dead skin from your legs. If you do make it out this far, I would recommend that you bring with you some water shoes because there are a lot of rocks that you will walk on, and bring a snack as well because it takes a good hour to make it out to this pond. You will also probably spend an hour or two at the pond itself, so the whole day will take about four hours total.

I also recommend getting there early in the day. It is a couple hours drive from Muscat, but less than an hour from Sur, and it is a great day trip if you find yourself in the later town. You also can’t just start hiking on the trail. You have to take a short, and I do mean short, boat ride from the welcoming center to the start of the hike. It does cost one Omani Rial per person, and they do stop running the boat around five or six at night. That means if you do not make it back in time, you could be stuck in the wadi during the night. Some people do come out to camp here, but you would want to plan for that and not be surprised about that choice when you find yourself on the wrong side of the river at the wrong time.

It is a great place out of many to visit while in Oman, and should be added to everybody’s itinerary. It is a great way to spend a day out in the desert, and the sights and adventures had along the way will not be quickly forgotten.