Shaquel al Balushi heads to a small village in the Batinah region, where he discovers a stunning wadi.
Whenever I head towards the UAE border for Destination, I tend to leave as early as possible. This enables my friend Imran and I to attend morning prayers on the way, which lets us experience an unfamiliar mosque and meet new people. It’s something we love to do, and it gives us renewed energy for our journey. In this case, we set out at 2am.
On this particular day, our original aim was to explore a dam in the Batinah region, off the Sohar-Buraimi Road. However, we found ourselves, once again, completely lost despite spotting a sign pointing towards the dam.
But when we took this road, all we could find was a factory and digging work that was being undertaken on a mountain. No dam in sight, which was a pity!
Like many of our plans for Destination, our day took a twist for the positive. Just as the sun started rising over the mountains, I asked Imran to stop the Pajero. And here’s where our luck began again – giving me the opportunity, as the saying goes, to kill two birds with one stone as I was also on the lookout for some good photo opportunities for my daily social media posts.
The rising sun had cast a golden hue over the rocky landscape and I jumped out of the car to take a few photos. Then suddenly, I spotted a turn-off that would take us to a village and a cooling wadi filled with clear, sparkling water.
The small village of Suhailah sits on the banks of the wadi and the villagers use the ancient falaj system as their main source of water.
We could hear the sound of the water moving over the rocks, which was invigorating and helped to recharge us after our long drive.
We entered the wadi on foot and I decided to sit down and watch the water while Imran did his usual disappearing act. I was there for nearly an hour. The water was pleasantly cold but I didn’t take a swim this time. Instead, I was content to watch the passing water parade as it made its swirling, gurgling way over the rocks.
I started taking pictures of the wadi and the surrounding landscape. I was very intrigued with the details on this trip, focusing on small water holes and undulating grey rocks that looked almost like waves that had been frozen in time.
I finally caught up with Imran at the deep end of the wadi and we decided to head to Buraimi for breakfast, about an hour’s drive from where we were.
During breakfast, I asked the waiter how far it was to drive to Al Ain in the UAE. He replied: “Walking or driving?” We thought he was being funny, but then he added: “Walking is two minutes and driving a few seconds.”
And then it hit us: we didn’t realise how far we’d driven and were so close to the UAE. So we headed over the border, where I took some more pictures and then headed home about lunchtime – but not before stopping to buy an abaya for my wife, who had asked me to get one for her there.
It was an amazing but exhausting adventure. And I found it hard to stay awake on the way home – much to Imran’s amusement. But our journey was incomplete – we still have to go back and find the dam. But that’s for another Destination.
Head out of Muscat on the road to Sohar. When you reach the main roundabout in Sohar, continue driving straight until you get to the Sohar-Buraimi Road turn-off. Take this route and drive towards Buraimi for about an hour or so.
GPS coordinates: N24°20’16.6” E56°30’11.0”