Friday 2 February 2007

Oman: Ar Rustaq and Nakhal

Inspired by the recently published Oman Off-Road we headed to the Ar Rustaq - Nakhal loop. With the route digitised on Google Earth and transferred to the GPS we headed out under overcast skies with the usual sandwiches and snacky things.

We turned off the main road at Al Musanaah approximately 100km west of Muscat to head towards Ar Rustaq. As we circled the fort through narrow roads, the sound of afternoon prayer crackled out from speakers and groups of men clustered around the main entrance. As this was possibly not the best time to visit, we continued on to Nakhal.

The Prado wound its way through palm plantations to the hot springs along with very large numbers of exuberant locals barbequing, singing, dancing and making merry. A group of teenage boys clanging on homemade drums and trays witnessed the spectacle of Mrs M falling flat on her face while attempting to cross the narrow stream – their amusement was very apparent. I hid my shame behind a tasty sandwich and hot Lavazza coffee.

When the embarrassment had diminished sufficiently we walked back to the car past a concrete pool boiling with mischievous boys willing to demonstrate their ability to drown their friends in front of a camera.

We continued on to Nakhal fort as the temperature, for the first time in many weeks, crept over 30C. The neat fort looks like a cardboard cut-out sitting on a rock surrounded by neatly trimmed plants and bushes. We toured the beautifully restored building climbing steps and dipping into cool rooms and dark towers with great views over the palm laden town below.

We headed north back to the main road, turning eastwards back to the capital and a sizeable traffic jam of Omani bargain hunters heading to the last day of Muscat festival.


ian and jan said...

Sounds so good we are off there this weekend!

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

I love Nakhal sooo much. It always feels so peaceful there, even when a lot is going on.

Thank you for the pictures.