Making his first trip to Wadi Arbaeen, Shaquel al Balushi sets out to capture its hidden side
While I’ve seen plenty of pictures of Wadi Arbaeen, I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I had never been myself; something I set about rectifying recently.
The wadi always looks beautiful in photos, but I was determined to capture something a bit different and kept my eye out for the smaller details you wouldn’t necessarily notice straight away.
I was visiting with a friend who had been before so finding the wadi was not a problem. In fact, it’s well signposted as you travel down Route 17, so getting lost shouldn’t be on the agenda for anyone.
As you turn off Route 17 you travel along a wide, new road until it gives way to a dirt track.
One of the first things I saw as we made our way towards the wadi were two smooth rocks with a plant growing in between them. I called the scene “The Impossible” and it reminded me that no matter how barren the conditions or bleak the surroundings, nature always finds a way to thrive.
Shortly afterwards, we came to a T-junction, with Wadi Arbaeen signposted to the left and a place called Mazare to the right. My path led to the left and while I did take the right turn later in the day and made some fascinating finds, you’ll have to wait until next week for that story.
It was 8 o’clock in the morning when we arrived at the wadi, which meant we had the amazing, untouched beauty almost entirely to ourselves, sharing it with only a handful of local farmers and some friendly wildlife, including donkeys and goats.
We had barely been at the wadi for 10 minutes and already I was loving the experience. I was awestruck by the natural rock formations, and took a few close-up shots before venturing into a small cave and attaching my fish-eye lens to capture the entire scene the best I could. Further into Wadi Arbaeen, we stumbled across a couple of small waterfalls and I set about documenting them from a very low angle. Altering my shutter speed to capture the effect of motion as the water flowed over rocks and through sprigs of vegetation, I was quite pleased with how the photos turned out.
It’s too hard to pick a favourite image because I like them all so much.
I think the wadi would make a great place to visit with friends and stay overnight, providing there is no rain forecast, of course.
It’s also the perfect location for a day trip because of its relatively close proximity to Muscat.
You can go for a great walk and explore the surrounding mountains if the weather is nice. Soon it will be getting too hot to do this, though, so you’ll have to be quick about it.
As we were leaving Wadi Arbaeen, around 11am, we started to notice a few more cars arriving as the tourists rolled in. By this time, however, we’d already explored much of what the stunning wadi had to offer and were ready to move on to the next adventure.
From Muscat, travel on Route 17 for 120km and then exit right. Follow the road until it turns to a dirt track. When you reach a T-junction, take a left turn, following the sign to Wadi Arbaeen.
GPS location of Wadi Arbaeen: N23° 2’ 42.665” E58° 59’ 2.582”