After a long day of valiant searching, Shaquel al Balushi finds the beautiful wadi of Ain Al Thawara, to wash away the stress of getting lost.
If you caught my Destination on Harat Safala last week, you will have remembered how I professed my love for Oman and counted my lucky stars to be living in our wonderful country.
It is this feeling of pride that I always want to bask in, and to add to with each adventure I take on.
With this week’s outing, I started out with good intentions; wanting to continue exploring the aspects of our heritage, topography and scenery that make our country stand out among its neighbours.
Joining me on my latest trip was, once again, my best friend Imran. This week, he suggested that we concentrated on finding a few falaj sites (ancient agriculture irrigation systems that date back to 500 AD).
On our recent trip to Birkat Al Mouz, we had found a running falaj that was still trickling underneath one of the ancient houses in that deserted and fascinating village.
To find another, we called up one of our close friends. Much to our surprise, he told us that there was a falaj right next to the castle of Harat Safala.
So, without any delay, we hopped into my trusty Jeep and hit the road. Yet again, we found ourselves driving down the highway towards Barka. The drive was tiring, to say the least, but in less than two hours, we were at the whereabouts of the castle.
Our initial excitement, however, was shortlived as we failed to find a falaj. After an hour of driving, we couldn’t even find the castle where we had started out from.
But Imran had mapped out our route in his head, and quickly alerted me that we were going around in circles and were not making any progress whatsoever.
Our last resort of asking passers-by for directions didn’t help us much either as everyone gave us different directions, causing us to go through the same route repeatedly. Two hours into the search, however, we decided to give up and head someplace else.
And that’s when I realised something: I had been having a tingling sensation in my head that had been telling me to visit the Nakhal region. The last time I had visited Nakhal was early in 2014 when I had just started with Y.
Therefore, I decided that it was the best place for us to head to. Armed with the coordinates for Nakhal, we headed back onto the dust-soaked highways of Barka. Our trip only took a few minutes and we were excited to finally be making some progress.
However, upon reaching the fort, we opted to go farther than where tourists usually stop during the winter season.
And in no time, we had seemingly entered a completely different environment – sort of like Narnia.
We found ourselves at what we can only describe as the most pristine wadi in Oman. There weren’t many people here but the wadi, locally known as the Ain Al Thawara, was surrounded by several old houses – almost like guards on sentry duty protecting hidden treasure.
The wadi was crystal-clear, and it extended up to the far end of the rocks, making it seem like an infinity pool from one of the five-star resorts in Oman.
And boy, it was absolutely stunning.
I quickly thought to myself how popular this wadi would be with tourists, especially if it became known to the public. After all, who would say no to a free dip in an infinity pool?
I found myself going deep into the corners of the pool to capture a few pictures. Dipping into the cool waters of the wadi , however, completely washed away our stress from our earlier falaj fiasco and revitalised our drained energy.
That’s the power of nature: it can heal you from all your troubles at any given moment. People must learn to submit themselves to the feet of Mother Nature in times of distress. After all, it is the basis of everything that we call “life”.
From Muscat, head towards Barka via the Muscat Expressway. When you reach Route 13 take the exit to Nakhal Road.
N23°27’26.6” ; E57°48’28.2”