Jebel Shams Mountain
Pick up from the hotel.
Drive to Barka to visit fish market and witness local people how they barter fresh catch fish. Proceed to visit Nakhl. The next stop is Nakhl which also has the highest fort in Oman, standing proudly on top of a hilltop. The fort is 350 years old and is set in a gorge, surrounded by a mountain enclave. In 1990, sympathetic restoration work began, using traditional building materials and period furnishings. The carved master gate is believed to date back to the 1830’s during the reign of Sayyid Said bin Sultan. Between Nakhl and Rustaq a hidden road leads up a 2000 mtr part of the Hajar Mountain range.
Stop at Wadi Bani Auf where the main attraction is the old houses nestled on the slopes of the mountain and this Wadi is also well known as the “snake gorge” because of the wide variety of desert snakes that live here.
Proceed to Bilad Sayt a village that is famous for its clay houses and the Oasis in which the village population lives. After this visit, enjoy a picnic lunch on top of the mountain.
Continue driving to Al Hamra a 400-year-old town in the region of Ad Dakhiliyah. Al Hamra is also known as Hamra Al Abryeen with reference to the Al Abri tribe who live there. Some of the oldest preserved houses in Oman can be found in Al Hamra, a town built on a tilted rock slab. Many of the houses have two stories, with ceilings made of palm beams and fronds topped by mud and straw.
Then proceed to Misfat Al Abryeen (often abbreviated to Misfat, or Misfah) which is one of the prettiest traditional villages in Oman, a picturesque huddle of old ochre-colored stone buildings.
Oman’s Grand Canyon is situated amidst the rocky terrain of the Jabal Shams mountain which over 3,000 meters is high making it the highest mountain in Oman. The word Jabal Shams literally means “Sun-Mountain” in Arabic. The view from the top over the Grand Canyon is absolutely breathtaking. The Jabal Shams is the highest peak in the 700 km long Hajar mountain range.
You might even be pleasantly surprised to see a few shepherds accompanying their grazing sheep! Experience an untamed and rugged countryside, a pristine world interrupted here and there by tiny settlements. Estimate arrival time is approx. 17:00 hours
Enjoy a beautiful dinner and campfire in the evening.
* Overnight at Jebel Shams Resort – Chalet room on HB
Breakfast and check out from the hotel.
Pick up from the hotel and drive down to Nizwa.
Visit the Nizwa fort which has been strategically built atop a hill overlooking the ancient city with its colorful domes and bustling market below. Spend some time in this traditional city and visit the interesting fort with the round tower and the museum and stroll thru the Souq. Nizwa Fort, built by Imam Sultan bin Saif al Ya’arubi in 1668, is the biggest fort in the Arabian Peninsula with an exterior diameter of its circular structure of 150 feet, and over 115 feet high. The fort was once used as the Imam’s headquarters and is a stronghold designed to withstand some of the most aggressive sieges. The traditional doors are inches deep and over the lintel of each are a hole through which boiling oil could be poured over the marauding enemies.
From there you continues atBirkat al Mauz. There is a full settlement of clay ruins (ancient houses) that are still partially inhabited and was once very famous for the banana plantations, now more so for the date plantations. One can also see how the traditional irrigation system that was used centuries ago and till date functions as the village uses it to nourish the Oasis. Lunch in local restaurant.
After lunch, drive to Samail. Samail is famous of it is history which dates back to the pre-Islamic era. The First Omani Muslim was from Samail, his name was Mazin Ben Ghadooba. Mazin built the first Mosque in Oman, which introduced the people of Oman to Islam during the era of princes Aabd and Jayfar the sons of Al-Juland, the king of Oman at that time. The Mosque has been restored on several occasions, and is ancient only in its foundations. Samail is also famous for its date palm trees which cover most of its area.
Consequently, there are a number of date palm processing factories in the area. Weaving is also a traditional craft still practiced by its inhabitants. Samail has a number of forts and castles including the Samail Hosn (the castle of Samail) the Bait Al Khubar, the Al Shahbaa Fort and a large number of small forts and Watch Towers.
Drive back to Muscat passing Fanja. Fanja is blessed with a very rich cultural heritage and spectacular natural landscapes. Its civilization, which dates back to 5,000 years, still exists along with modern development; it is a city with a hidden beauty that is yet to be explored. Wadi Fanja often has running water especially after usual seasons of rain. Most of the residents and visitors enjoy lovely evenings here, especially on weekends. The wadi is beautiful as it is surrounded by date palms and other trees. After the tour, back to Muscat