Y Magazine

Destination: Wadi Uyun

What happens when a wadi meets the desert? Shaquel al Balushi finds out on a detour from a visit to Sinaw

It’s 3am and my alarm has just gone off. Twenty minutes later I am out the door and travelling south from my home in Amerat with the GPS set for Sinaw, roughly 200km away.



While I normally head out on my Destinations with just one other friend, this time around the group kept on growing and before I knew it, we ended up with five amigos piled into my friend’s Jeep.

Our journey was made in darkness and reaching Sinaw as the sun rose, a little before 7am, we stopped to take a small and simple breakfast from a shop that had just opened.

It was my intention to discover the famous Sinaw souk, but as we later found out, it wasn’t open just yet. Having some time to kill, the group decided to investigate another place and started driving further south beyond the town.

Having a quick glance on Google Maps, we noticed somewhere that looked potentially interesting just under 20km away, close to the tiny town of Uyun.

After passing through the town, we noticed some almost dune-like formations in the distance. Taking a turn off the road, we came across a track that led in that direction and followed it.

Minutes later we had stumbled across something quite beautiful. The “dunes’” turned out to be made from a strange mixture of rock and sand, perhaps something to do with the fact that we were edging towards Sharqiya Sands. It was a spot where wadi began to meet desert.

We were well off the beaten track, but I’m guessing that even a saloon car could manage the drive, thanks to the stones on the ground, which added extra grit and grip to provide more traction. Apart from the bumps ahead of us, the drive was relatively smooth and the landscape was so flat that you could see for kilometres. Even when we stopped to explore on foot, the ground had a strange consistency; each step was cushioned, just as it would be with sand.

One thing that hit me straightaway was the sense of calm. It was still only 7.30am and so the sleepy mumblings of my friends were the only noises to be heard. Apart from this, it was absolute silence, which made for a pleasant atmosphere.

I couldn’t help but notice that there was quite a bit of rubbish strewn about, which always saddens me to see, and so I’m guessing that it’s a relatively well-known spot locally. I could find no reference to the area by name on any maps, so I’ll simply call the place Wadi Uyun.

The sky was the brilliant kind of blue you only get early in the morning and the trees were another thing that grabbed my attention.

Tall trunks rose up to the sky and had hardly any branches until they reached their peak, where they spread out in all sorts of directions. They were completely different to what I’m used to in Muscat and I made sure to get some shots, as I was intrigued by their uniqueness.

I imagine this would be a great area for camping, or even just a day trip. The potential for long walks exploring the area is huge, especially as we make the most of the last months of cooler weather.

This little gem was a completely unplanned find, but I’m glad we followed our instincts and went that extra distance. I’d recommend anyone to do the same!

How to get there:

There are multiple ways to get to Sinaw, but the most straightforward is via Route 15 towards Nizwa. Take a left turn at Izki and stay on this road until it ends. Turn right and then left onto Route 33. Pass through Sinaw and join Route 32. This will lead you to the turn off, just after Uyun.

GPS location:  N22º 20’ 54.557” E58º 3’ 53.294”