This is the story of how nature took over Wadi Amerat in an impressive show of force, reclaiming what was rightfully hers.
Cyclone Gonu changed Oman forever when it struck in the summer of 2007 and one of the areas that was altered irrevocably was the wadi close to my home in Amerat.
Now, the road that links Wadi Adai and Amerat cuts a smooth path between the mountains, but the valley below harbours a dark secret. It was once a place where the mark of man was everywhere, but Gonu changed all that.
Taking the first exit at the first roundabout you come to when travelling from Muscat towards Amerat, I doubled back on myself and was able to locate the old road through the wadi. A little further on though, the road comes to an abrupt end as nature has moved back in. Nowadays, this is a route only travelled by campers and those looking to explore the wadi.
My cousin had his 4×4 with him so we could’ve tackled the off-road terrain, but we both fancied a trek down memory lane and I headed off, camera in hand.
Before Gonu hit, it was a road that everyone used and I remember how it was a nightmare to travel into Muscat, particularly in the morning.
Everywhere I looked I saw glimpses of the things I remembered from when I was a kid – some palm trees that marked the location of a showroom and traces of the old road – but there were clear signs that nature has well and truly taken over. Rubble and debris now lay where buildings once stood – it’s as if it were nature’s way of saying enough is enough, now it is time to cleanse.
Along the way I passed a flat rock face that used to be a well-known spot for climbers, but now you cannot even reach it. Tall grass and reeds block your path, as if they are guarding the rock, and if you do somehow make it through, you will find a deep pool of water at the base, almost like the moat that surrounds a castle. It was as if Mother Nature has claimed back this land and is reluctant to let it go, so that man can spoil it once more.
The newly built road was visible in the distance throughout the walk, but in spite of this the whole area retains a sense of tranquillity and calm. All you can hear is the sound of trickling water and other noises of nature, as opposed to that of traffic and engines.
Due to its proximity to the city I would compare it to somewhere like Wadi Al Khoudh, although that is a much drier wadi, whereas the wadi at Amerat now has water flowing throughout the year. It’s shallow and great for a paddle if you’re looking to cool down, although not quite deep enough to swim in.
A trip to the wadi actually makes for a nice outing and during the weekend you will see families there barbecuing food or relaxing and enjoying their break from work.
I wasn’t there to relax though, as nostalgic as this trip was proving. The distance from Amerat to Wadi Adai through the wadi is around 8km and we trekked it from start to finish. It took around four hours, but that was at a slow amble, frequently stopping to capture my surroundings with my camera. I think if you put your mind to it you could do it in a great deal less time and you could even set yourself a time trial challenge if you’re into fitness.
This wadi offers a great environment for moderate trekking. I’d recommend anyone to park their car at one end, walk all the way through and catch a cab back, just as I did. I promise you won’t regret it and if you knew the area before, you will emerge with a newfound appreciation for the power of nature.
The wadi is very easy to reach and only takes around 15 minutes from Muscat. Turn right at the Shell petrol station next to the highway in Wattayah and head towards Amerat. Once you’ve driven through the mountains take the first exit at the first roundabout you come to. Double back on yourself and you will find the old road next to the new one.
GPS Location of the old road: N23° 32’ 22.758” E58° 30’ 59.202”