ADVENTURE GUIDE: Wadi Arbaeen, Oman
Wadi Al Arbaeen is one of the nicest spots in Oman and has an established reputation among the region’s off-roading and camping enthusiasts – and with good reason. Located around 90 minutes outside of Muscat, it is a long valley filled with tracks for rock-crawling in the 4×4 and dozens of fresh-water pools to dip in – which is ideal as the weather warms up.
How to get there
The best way to get to Wadi Al Arbaeen is by going through the highway from Muscat to Sur and Qurayyat, a scenic 82km drive through the Eastern Hajar foothills on a good road.
On the highway to Sur, just at a settlement called Dibab, take a right turn when you find the “Wadi Al Arbaeen in 17km” sign. This road essentially follows the course of Wadi Al Arbaeen. Keep going straight until the asphalt road ends and you start driving on gravel.
What to expect
Wadi Al Arbaeen provides the ultimate soundtrack of nature. There are moments when all you can hear are the sounds of running water, birds and a breath of wind flowing through the narrow channels.
It’s no surprise that this area is popular with local families and after only a few hundred metres you will probably find people picnicking and swimming in the fresh water pools. The trick is to just keep going deeper into the wadi, where only 4x4s can go. You will be rewarded with long stretches of valley to yourself, where it feels more serene and untouched. In the less accessible parts of the wadi, you will be astonished with the rock formations, waterfalls and palm groves.
What to do
For 4×4 fans, this is an incredibly enjoyable wadi, with lots of rock-crawling and water crossing. Essentially, there is one trail that follows the course of the wadi in a south-westerly direction. Eventually, just as the valley meanders around to the south, at a small settlement called Al-Bitha’, a road up to the right will take you all the way back to the highway – several kilometers north of the Dibab turn-off.
This whole circuit is around 38km but it will take you most of the day. Importantly, there are several stops along the valley where you can climb the rocks and jump in the water from different heights – although please check the depth of the water before jumping from cliffs.