Thursday 27 May 2010

Oman: Wadi Shab....just one last time

With only a month left in Oman, there was an opportunity to take a visitor for an unexpected last-minute trip to one of the most spectacular places in the country, Wadi Shab.

It was toasty hot as we parked under the bridge and prepared for the walk with lashings sun cream and vast amounts of water. After taking the pointless boat, we made our way up the valley as the sun rose over the ridge to our left, increasing the temperature close to 50C.

There has been some restoration work since our last visit. Concrete bases of a pipeline destroyed in Gonu have been Keyhole cave wadi Shabunsympathetically painted an orangey-brown colour, as have patches of graffiti and a couple of concrete benches. The level of the water in most of the wadi was more than a metre lower than normal. We later found this was due to the damming of the stream higher up, presumably to carry out repairs to some of the paths which normally twist in and out of the pools of fast-running water.

We reached the pool at the end of the wadi and nibbled a sandwich before swimming to the cave. The water was delightfully cool. I carried an old camera into the keyhole cave but it was not possible to sit on the ridge above the waterline to get a good shot of the waterfall. I wedged myself in between the walls of the smaller waterfall and took a few photos into the centre of the pool. Although the storage card is still usable, the water inside my double layer of protective sandwich bags suggested the camera might not have survived the journey.

We returned to our pile of clothing before heading back to the car which, as planned, was now sitting in the shadow of the hideous bridge which rips incongruously across the mouth of the wadi.

I could not resist the temptation to visit Fins beach one last time before returning to Muscat. We were not disappointed. The water was turquoise blue with a milky-white shoreline which turned into white surf on the Tiwi Fins beachsmooth golden beach. The water was as warm as tea.

Afterwards, as we changed into dry clothing, I looked around at the site where we had spent many camping trips in Oman and the place where we had cooked two pit roast Christmas dinners in the sand. Wonderful memories.

With the air conditioning working extra hard, we returned to Muscat without seeing another car until Al Amerat.


Oman Holidays said...

we went on Tuesday - glad the noise from the traffic on the bridge disappears not far into the wadi. The orangey paint must have been a job creation scheme - almost pointless otherwise . The boat trip was fine - it puts cash into local pockets.

Blewyn said...

It does, but it pisses off the passengers, because everyone can see that it is pointless, and no more than a scam. Plenty of cash could be put into local pockets if only they would do something useful, like provide a service that visitors actually need - a little shop at the mouth of the wadi, selling water and barbecue materials ? Fresh coffee ? Charge a 1R admission fee and employ someone to clean up the wadi and police litterbugs ?

Mr. Steve said...

Perhaps some decent toilets and a few rubbish bins?

Andrew said...

I can still remember swimming through that gunk at Wadi shab. Presume it has all gone by now. Also those lecherous chaps working near the bridge. Holly also remembers conquering the Shab - from view of my shoulders. Good memories.
All the best, Andy.