Wonderful Wadi Shab (and other interesting places)

After a restful night and a lazy breakfast at the Sur Plaza Hotel, I headed down to the “dhow building” area with plans to get some good pictures of the new-ish suspension bridge and the watchtowers on top of the hill.  

I always find people in Oman to be very friendly and generous, and today was no exception.  A car bearing stickers of a government entity drew alongside me and a very nice young man asked if I was ok, and would I like to go over and see the lightouse.  

 I felt safe enough in his company so accepted; he was good company, could answer my 101 questions about the area, and acted like a real gentleman.   Hearing I had no set plans for the afternoon, once he finished work at lunchtime he picked me up in his own car and proceeded to show me a lovely beach.

  I wasn’t too excited about descending the concrete staircase (note the lack of guard rails) 

 but once I got to the foot the sight of the heron (arabic name translates as “sad king”) and of the beach made it worth it.  Definitely one to come back to.

We then headed North to Wadi Shab, which is his favourite spot in the area and also apparently one of the top ten things to do in Oman.  I told him I had never been to it despite visiting Oman 18 times in the last 5 years!  He couldn’t not comprehend that my Oman exploring had missed out such a perfect spot, and I have to agree with him.

 First we crossed over on a tiny boat – cost 200 baizas per person each way.  

There was a good path leading a few hundred metres up the gorge, 

though it got a bit trickier (and higher, yikes) in a short time.  

 We came to a beautiful big pool of turquoise water and I thought it was amazing, but we pressed on; apparently this was not the highlight of the tour.  (Even my friend didn’t know how a set of concrete steps leading no-where came to be perched atop this huge rock!)

We walked through rough paths, along the edge of a falaj (taking the water down from a higher pool to some farms we passed), and finally had to climb over quite a few boulders, and also wade through water for a bit.

On the way up we met quite a few people, almost all Europeans, including a Scot from Muscat who used to teach in Al Ain.  When I told him I was from Aberdeen he informed me that further on we would meet a couple who lived in my home city!  Faris had been telling me that not enough people came on holiday to Oman from Scotland so I gently teased him about Wadi Shab being taken over by Scots on this particular Saturday!

At the top of the wadi there’s a ravine, and although I didn’t go in this time, there’s a beautiful cave which has holes in the “roof” allowing light to filter  in.

On the way back to Sur I was treated to the best ever chicken biryani at a Pakistani cafe, and I tried to pay for it but my friend wouldn’t let me!  

He suggested that I park up near the souq and have a walk through it; from the outside it looks like a few shops selling food and animal fodder (and some animals too)

but once you get away from the main square there are lots of little shops selling lovely fabrics, traditional dresses and jewellery!

All in all a great day and made all the more special by having a good companion to give me insight into the Sur area and its recent history.

Update Dec 2014: Read about my friend’s walk through Wadi Shab here.

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