Today was a great day of exploration! Danny met me at the hotel this morning and we had a car brought to us there. The company (NAB) brought the car, went over the details with us, and then we went on our way south. We hadn’t had breakfast yet so Danny found a small Coffee Shop (that was the actual name of the place) that was great! It was a small cafe kind of place on the side of the road, and the inside wasn’t the cleanest restaurant I’ve been to. But you could tell this was a place that locals would go to.
We grabbed a table and looked at the menu, which was mainly pictures, and picked a couple of chicken burgers for breakfast. We also got some milkshakes, which were great! We got a big bottle of water to take on the road, and we got a couple of small bottles of water to have with our meals. The whole thing came to about £4, so that’s a great deal!
We hit the road and started driving south along the coast of Oman. It was about an hour and a half to get down to Wadi Shab, and it was well worth the drive! There is a small parking lot under the highway, and it’s right next to a river coming out of this valley of rocks. Parking was free, and then we had to buy two round trip tickets to get across the river by boat.
The little rowboat took us across the river in about two minutes, and then we could start our walk through the valley. It was a really pretty walk, through a kind of terrain that you don’t see very often. Oman reminds me a lot of Jordan, which I guess isn’t that surprising considering they’re not too far from each other. It’s very dry, and there are some small areas of vegetation along the way. It’s also a bit strange that on the walk through Wadi Shab there is a lot of man-made stuff. It looks like they tried to put in some kind of irrigation system, and maybe even tried to build something more substantial along the way.
It’s about a 45-minute walk to get to the end, where you can swim up a river and through some pools to get to a cave and waterfall. Danny and I got up there, but I didn’t feel comfortable leaving all of our belongings at the start of the swim (we didn’t have a waterproof bag). I stayed at the start, and Danny went for a swim. He came back after about a half-hour and said the cave and waterfall were great. I can only take his word for it, but it was a nice walk out there, so I was happy with the trip.
We made it all the way back to the car without it raining, which I guess was a big win for us. We were told when we started the walk that if it started to rain, get back to the car in a hurry because the area floods very quickly when the rain starts. So luckily, we avoided that, which sounds like it was for the best.
We started driving back north and stopped at the Bimma Sinkhole which is one of the top things to see in Oman. I have to say, I was pretty disappointed, but that is partly because I was so impressed with Wadi Shab. It really is a big hole in the ground that is filled with seawater, and they have built-in a long set of stairs down to the bottom so you can walk down and go swimming. I’m a bit of a germaphobe so the idea of swimming in this stagnant waterhole wasn’t too appealing to me, but all the people down there seemed to be having a good time.
We drove back up to Muscat, which took just over an hour and had to stop to get gas when we got back into the city. It cost about £8 to fill the car (from about a quarter of a tank). For my car in the UK, this would have cost about £45, so it’s pretty nice buying gas in the Middle East. There was a burger restaurant next to the gas station so we grabbed a couple of burgers for dinner, and then headed back into the city.
It was a great day of exploring with Danny, and I’m so glad he was able to take one of his days off to spend with me. I love travelling on my own, but it’s so much nicer if you can travel with a friend. I’ve chilled for the rest of the night and tomorrow morning I’m going to explore a bit more of Muscat before I fly back to Dubai.