We head back in time to September 2010 to take in the untouched sands and remarkable rock formations of Wadi Shital
In tribute to former Y photographer Jerzy Wierzbicki, who spent five years exploring the Sultanate’s natural beauty on behalf of the magazine, we’ve been running a retrospective series looking at some of his most stunning destinations in the hope of inspiring the next group of adventurers. This week, it’s the spectacular sands of Wadi Shital that stretch across 14km. Here’s Jerzy’s take on it:
“I was driving in the night, somewhere between Mahout and Duqm. I was all alone and aimlessly heading out into the wilderness. It was a quiet, monotonous drive. “The darkness and rawness of the desert always relaxes me. I pulled up just before dawn at a place where rocks, sand dunes and green acacia trees dotted the landscape. I needed to sip some strong tea after an exhausting night.
“I had decided to try to recapture the emotions I felt when I was exploring the Cinnamon Desert. There was only one place that could live up to my expectations that I had heard about only in whispers among some of my fellow explorers. Wadi Shital is a wadi with many rock formations that predates civilisation tenfold. It is a rich geological area that lies near the village of Shital.
“The fragile site is believed to be 600 million years old and it was once the bottom of a prehistoric ocean, but now it’s a wide, sundrenched valley.
“Should you venture up the small hills on either side of the wadi, you can admire an impressive landscape. It really is a must see. “Despite a bumpy path lined with sand dunes, driving into the heart of the wadi is easy if you have the right 4×4. “If you are concerned for your car or are not the most confident off-road explorer, don’t fear. As an alternative, there are many easy-to-navigate paths that you can explore in the vicinity. Thanks to the acacia trees and sweeping brown hills, there are lots of places to set up camp and the area is still largely pristine and untouched by man.”
Travel from Muscat to Sinaw via the Nizwa road and then go to Mahout. From Mahout, head towards Duqm along road number 32. Approximately 70km before Duqm is a small Al Maha service station; 5.6km after this station you have to turn right onto a gravel road. This will lead you directly to the wadi.
GPS location of the gravel road turning: 20°09’0.10”N 57°43’29”E