Sometimes you just need to let off some steam and the natural pools in the mountains around Siya are the perfect place to do just that, finds Shaquel al Balushi
I’d never been to Siya before, but having witnessed the breathtaking scenery of the mountains around the village last week, I know I will be going back for sure.
My friend visited many years ago and spoke of some great natural springs, which persuaded me to go back there with him recently. After settting off from my house in Amerat at 6.30 in the morning, we got slightly lost and a journey that I imagine would usually take 30 to 40 minutes ended up taking a little longer.
When we reached the village, we parked our saloon by the mosque and decided to walk the path up into the mountains. The track is wide enough to take a 4×4, or even a good saloon, but there are many steep inclines and descents along the way, as well as several twists and turns, so you’ll need good breaks if you want to drive. After a while, the track made way to a small path, we walked along it, bearing to the right and continued to climb.
The views as we got higher were amazing. The jagged mountains were incredibly dramatic and the lush green of the palm trees combined with the clear blue sky to create a stunning vista.
The early morning sun was warm, but not yet unbearable and the lighting was fantastic for many different styles of photography. Morning shoots are my favourite because not only is the traffic always lighter, but the lighting is often perfect. As the sun gets higher in the sky, everything becomes a bit flat in terms of photography; you don’t get a lot of shadows.
The trek, which took around an hour, was relentless and exhausting, but what awaited us made the exertion well worth it. As we rounded a bend, completely out of breath, we spotted a collection of freshwater pools that were simply too inviting to pass up.
The water was crystal clear, enabling you to see right down to the bottom and in places it was quite deep. My friend I jumped right in and as soon as I did, I could feel all the stress leaving my body.
The water was close to room temperature, which was welcome and refreshing after the strenuous walk, the wind passed through the area nicely and we could hear some birds singing. It was incredibly relaxing.
What fascinated me the most about this area were the contrasting textures of the rocks. In places, it almost looked as if someone had thrown acid on the rocks and they had melted, but just a few metres away, the rock would be completely different.
As is so often the case when I am out shooting my Destination pieces, we lost track of time, but spent several hours up in the mountains, most of which was spent in the water simply chilling and contemplating life.
The whole area was very clean, which was pleasing and shows that it’s not a place often frequented by people. You could even camp, providing you are willing to carry all your equipment with you, and take your litter when you leave, of course.
On our way back down, both a local man and a herd of goats greeted us warmly, before we took some lunch in the village below.
I had an amazing time discovering the natural pools around Siya; it’s a beautiful place and I will definitely be returning in the not too distant future. I may even tell the friend who revealed the hidden side of Yiti to me about the area, as she loves quiet and secluded places where she can achieve a bit of “me time”, which is certainly possible in the mountains of Siya.
How to get there:
Take road 17 from Muscat, passing through Amerat. About 10km after Hajar, there will be a turning on the right for Jaslut. Take this road and stay on it for 50km until you reach Siya. Park your car at the mosque and make your way into the mountains by foot.
GPS location of Siya:
N23° 12’ 29” E58° 41’ 04”