An impromptu trip at dawn sees Shaquel Al Balushi help his vertigo-suffering cousin reach for a higher level of achievement.
If you’re a regular reader of my Destination series, you will know my family and how I love the morning sunrise.
This week, my cousin and I set off at 4am. Our aim was to discover something fresh and very easy on the eye.
However, Oman has recently experienced some sizeable showers of rain so our initial route choice switched to the valleys of Rustaq.
First, we drove to Y’s offices as it’s a Thursday and I wanted to back up some work before the weekend ahead.
Not long after, we set off towards Barka. I had already experienced the mystical views of Rustaq so we changed our minds, and spontaneously headed towards Wadi Mistaal instead.
As travellers, we knew that this wadi contains a collective set of waterways correlated together, and is one of the largest inter-connected wadis in the Sultanate.
We stopped at the first signpost and opened our trusted GPS. Fortunately, we had so many options to choose from so we chose a colloquial name off the map that we understood.
Wadi Sibeb is a beautiful vision. Approaching the wadi there’s only one brown signpost that indicates the turn to its location. Located in between the multi-crossing wadis, we parked our trusty Jeep and set about our trek.
By this time, it was 7am. My cousin, “Mr Thumbs Up”, is terrified of heights despite being a cabin crewmember for a local airline. And this is what made the start of our trek so entertaining. As we ascended Sibeb’s valleys, all of our five senses were spoilt for choice: the fresh breeze, the sounds of frogs chirping and the smell of musk reverberated around the mountains. There was a stunning velvet green sheen that shimmered across the rocks, and an abundance of exotic cactuses, all fresh to the eye.
All we were thinking was how refreshing Mother Nature could be. As we hiked the trails and climbed the rocks, we could hear the sounds of trickling water but couldn’t see it. There were only a few splashes of water across a few rocks but they were quite slippery. Any explorer should be aware of tight enclosures as there are sections of the wadi that should be rerouted. Sometimes we approached high peaks without realising we were doing so.
At high peaks, we noticed myriad grape trees, which were so fresh and exquisite. The top view of Sibeb is really something. In every angle, my camera captured visions that were hard to portray through my lens. What struck me were the herds of cattle, goats and camels all jostling for position between precarious pavements on the extremely narrow roads. We finally came upon the everlasting connection of wadi springs.
My experience at Wadi Sibeb was remarkable. My cousin gave our day the thumbs up after attempting to face his fears, on top of the mountain. And I was just thrilled that we followed our explorative instincts.
My top tip is for a spontaneous trip is; “expect the unexpected”.
This way you will experience Oman in a different light and I mean that in every possible way.
[styled_box title=”How to Get There?” color=”black”]
Head towards Barka and then onto Rustaq. Turn off when you see the sign for Wadi Mistaal, continue driving until you reach Wakan Village and then follow the signs to Wadi Sibeb.
GPS coordinates: N23°09’21.1”; E57°45’09.3”