The term wadi is derived from the Arabic language and can be translated as «valley» or «ravine». Wadis are mostly of ephemeral nature meaning that they are normally dry, apart from during the raining season. The wadis in Oman range from immense canyons to small crevasses in the rock face and many have streams and pools throughout the year that invite visitors to take a plunge.
Wadi Bani Khalid
Wadi Bani Khalid is one of the most popular wadis with tourists as it is easily accessible and lies between Muscat and Sur. It is one of the only wadis with facilities such as a restaurant and restrooms. From the main pool you can swim under the bridge to the upper area and from there take a ten-minute walk to the second set of smaller pools which tend to be quieter.
To get to Wadi Shab you will need to cross over a river with the boat (Fare costs 1 OMR) before you can start your journey. Make sure to arrive back down for the last crossing in the evening. The hike up to Wadi Shab is beautiful and takes about an hour at a leisurely pace but includes clambering over boulders and rocks, so make sure to wear sturdy shoes. When arriving at the gorge the water starts off ankle deep and grassy at both sides before getting deeper and the surroundings more barren. Swim further along into the valley and discover the hidden waterfall at the back of the deep pool at the end of the valley.
Wadi Nakhar is often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Oman and is 200 metres deeper than its namesake. One of the favourite things to do at the Wadi Nakhar is to hike along the «balcony walk». Starting at Al Khatym the walk is about four hours return trip and a waterfall marks the end of the trail. The balcony walk is on the Jebel Shams mountain. Although there is nowhere to swim at this wadi, it still deserves a place on that Oman must-see list.
Wadi Tiwi is Wadi Shab’s next door neighbour and very similar. This wadi is home to a dense plantation of banana, mango and fig trees as well as many small villages scattered along the road into the wadi. Discover the emerald green lakes, glistening waterfalls, and meandering paths. The end of Wadi Tiwi opens into the sea.
Wadi Al Hoqain
This wadi is roughly a two-hour drive from Muscat and belongs to the most dazzling wadis in Oman due to the yearlong waterfalls and springs that flow into larger bodies of water. This wadi is a great place for a picnic which can be enjoyed surrounded by a palm trees in the oasis. The area is also home to the renovated Al Hazm Fort where visitors can discover secret passageways and ancient water systems.