With car trouble and an uneasy feeling, Shaquel al Balushi abandons a trip to a graveyard but vows to return next week.
I’m a big fan of camping, and many times on the way for weekend trips to beaches around Sur, I’ve spotted a brown sign with the words “Kbaikab Graveyard Y Al Jayla Village” on it.
It interested me because the word “Kbaikab” is not one that I’ve heard or seen before; it’s not Arabic as far as I know, so I’m guessing it comes from a foreign tongue.
Anyway, this week I finally decided to take the turn rather than just drive past it. My travel buddy, Imran, wasn’t able to make it so I was driving solo.
I left early (around 6am) and reached the turn at about 7.30am, having had a good run and encountering little traffic on the road.
Passing under a bridge, I followed the sign to the right and headed off, not knowing what to expect. I began to climb the mud and cement track winding its way up and up until I looked back and saw wonderful views stretching towards the sea, glimmering in the sun in the distance. You definitely need a 4×4 vehicle and one in good condition to undertake this destination as the incline can be taxing.
No need to worry about getting lost though as there’s only way to go – and that’s up.
On the way, you pass through the village of Al Jayla, which seems very modern with almost new looking houses, but there’s not much to tempt you to stop and take a look round. Better to just keep motoring on.
I suddenly began to feel quite heavy. I can’t explain fully the sensation that came upon me; just a feeling of heaviness. I started to feel scared and began to question whether I should go on or turn back.
Then something even more alarming happened – my car overheated. It’s a Jeep Wrangler, used to tackling all sorts of challenging terrains, and I’ve never had a problem with it before. I stopped to allow it to cool down. As I waited, a local old man in a red van pulled over and asked if I needed any help before heading on his way.
I set off but five minutes later, the oil sign on the car’s dashboard came on again, necessitating another stop. It felt that the omens were telling me not to go any further. I’d also covered only six or seven kilometres of the total 37km to the graveyard and I felt that it would be risking too much to drive on as I was alone and the Jeep could break down again.
On the way back down, I noticed an unusual pile of stones placed on top of a large, rocky hill. It struck me that it would have meant quite a climb, carrying heavy stones, for someone to reach the summit. There was something quite spooky about the sight of it. I took a few photos and continued back down.
During another stop, I noticed two small stones on top of each other. They seemed to have been very deliberately placed on the ground like this. I’d never seen stones like these before; they looked like Kryptonite (the radioactive material from Superman’s fictional home planet of Krypton) only yellow. I picked the top one up and found it unusually heavy. By now, my nerves were a bit frayed and my imagination was running wild – possibly because I was going to a graveyard – so it may well have been my mind playing tricks on me. I put the stone back where I found it and left.
On the way back down, I also passed some man-made rock structures – one of which looked as if you could go inside – with wooden constructions; another bearing an Omani flag.
I was pleased to get back down to the main road. On the way home, the Jeep didn’t give me any trouble and when I later took it to a garage to be checked over, the mechanic said there was nothing wrong with the car.
Despite the unorthodox trip, I’m determined to make it to Kbaikab Graveyard and will be heading back this weekend – only this time with a friend and possibly two cars.
You can find out whether I make it in next week’s Y…
From Muscat, take Route 17 towards Sur. You’ll pass a brown road sign for the graveyard on the right. When you see a blue sign saying “Qur’ran 25km”, take the turn. Turn right under the bridge and follow the signs. It’s a straight road climbing up.
GPS location of Kbaikab Graveyard: N184.108.40.206”, E220.127.116.11”