Shaquel al Balushi still finds one of the Sultanate’s most imposing structures a sight to behold despite losing his footing.
Nakhal Fort has been hailed as one of the most prominent structures ever to be built in our country.
Sometimes I feel that it is one of the many wonders that sets this country apart from our neighbours.
And there’s no need to labour the point as Nakhal Fort is indeed one of the main points of interest for travellers visiting the country.
However, after last week’s escapade into the crystal-like wadi waters of Ain Al Thawara, I felt guilty for not stopping by Nakhal Fort.
And it seemed only fair that I had to revisit Nakhal to show pictures of this beautiful fort – and perhaps even the region – for the last time this year.
If you’ve followed my Destination stories for long, you would know that my last visit (which was also my first) to the fort was in May 2015, when I merely concentrated on the inside of the structure. And back then, I promised readers that I would be back to cover the exterior and the surrounding areas on another day. But little did I know that my “other day” would be a whole 19 months away.
Still, better late than never, right?
Joining me on my trip was Imran, who surprisingly had never been to the fort himself. I guess, when you’re out exploring the various corners of Oman, you tend to forget about the more renowned locations.
Our drive towards the fort mostly consisted of some friendly ribbing of Imran for not visiting the fort.
But, both of us were awestruck when it came into view. Its sheer size is captivating, to say the least.
I could sense Imran’s excitement. He scurried off, without even waiting for me to grab my camera gear. But I soon traced his tracks and caught up with him. As I stated earlier, our main goal for the day was to capture the outside structure of the fort.
One impressive fact about Nakhal Fort is that the edifice is built into the surrounding rocks, which made taking pictures all the more difficult. One wrong step and I would have simply tumbled down into a pile of rubble.
But standing outside the fort, all I could think about was how hard it must have been for our ancestors to have built it from scratch.
That must be what sets us apart from them. I cannot even imagine how hard they would have had to work to balance their footing while carrying heavy tools and rocks.
My decision to keep our adventure outside the fort didn’t go down too well with Imran because he still wanted to visit the inside. But after a few minutes of trekking, we were overlooking the village of Nakhal.
Our efforts had paid off as we had wandered into the far corners of the fort – an area not many people dare to explore.
But just as I was pondering why people don’t actually explore this part of the fort, I soon got an answer – and one that I had feared from the start.
I lost my footing and went tumbling down the slope. Luckily my camera and gear were fine but my ankle was certainly a bit bruised.
But, as they say: when you fall, you brush yourself off, dust yourself down and carry on. If I were to start complaining about my tumble, I cannot even begin to imagine the pains our forefathers would have had to endure while building the fort.
And so, despite my mishap, Nakhal Fort is still one of my favourite spots to visit.
I would certainly recommend a visit to see it. But I suggest you keep your interests within the fort to avoid any accidents.
Oh, and by the way, Imran has still not gone inside, to date.
From Muscat, head towards Barka via the Muscat Expressway. When you reach Route 13 take the exit to Nakhal Road and continue driving until you reach the fort.