A meandering journey leads Shaquel al Balushi to the discovery of a lifetime at rocky Mazare.
I’ve undertaken many destinations for Y Magazine, but I have never seen anything quite like Mazare. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this was one of the most amazing places I’ve discovered in Oman in the 30-plus years I’ve lived here.
It all started innocently enough. Upon reaching the junction with two blue signs where you turn left to Wadi Arbaeen, we went to the right, just to see if there was anything worth exploring.
We were trundling along the track with little or no expectations and as we crested a hill, we were rewarded with a fantastic overview of the valley below and the wonders it contained.
Spread out before us were some incredible rock formations, the likes of which I’d never witnessed before. They were literally like stone trees and I assume the whole area was underwater at one time for the rocks to have been worn down the way they were. It felt like I’d hit the photography jackpot.
As we drew closer, we noticed several paths showing that people walk around this area regularly, but we decided to put our car through its paces and left the dirt track to do some proper off-roading. It wasn’t too challenging and taking turns behind the wheel, my friend and I had a great time. However, you could just as easily park the car at the side of the track and explore on foot.
The texture of the rocks is completely different to that on the other side of the mountains and Wadi Arbaeen. I had to repeatedly ask myself if I was in the same area.
These fascinating rocks are just a few minutes’ drive away from the wadi, but the two places could not be more different.
One is full of water and greenery, while the other is a stark, sandy contrast; almost like a desert. Loose rock chips covered the floor and I’m guessing it would have been a geologist’s paradise.
Overhead, it was just as dramatic, with wisps of white cloud streaked across the bright-blue sky. Sometimes, when there is too much white in the sky it can make the photos feel a bit flat but on this particular day, the conditions were perfect.
I am 110 per cent positive that I will return to Mazare and choreograph one of my fashion shoots there because I’m always on the lookout for unusual places, and this fits the bill perfectly.
I’d never heard of this place beforehand but I’m so glad that we took the time (10 minutes from Wadi Arbaeen, at most) to visit it. I can’t recommend a trip here highly enough. If you are visiting the wadi, it would be a shame to miss out.
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 right turn, following the sign to Mazare. You won’t be able to miss the rock formations when you arrive.
GPS location: N23° 4’ 51.334” E58° 55’ 32.005”