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Shaquel al Balushi keeps the romance alive and takes to the road for some R&R with his wife.
If you have known me long enough, you will know that, to me, adventure and travel are more than just an act of going someplace and spending time exploring the surroundings. Instead, I often try to head towards my Destinations with a travel buddy or someone with whom I can spend some quality time.
Basically, I like to use my trips as a time to bond with my companion and share thoughts and interests, and that makes the usual chore of finding a location all the more interesting.
Surprisingly, however, my “travel buddy” for the week wasn’t one of my friends or cousins. Instead, it was my beloved wife.
This was also her first time out with me for a Destination and our point of interest was Huqum, which is an area quite close to where we live in Al Amerat.
It is only a 30-minute drive from Al Amerat to Huqum, and it is also surprisingly close to an animal reserve, so if you’re planning to head there you can visit both locations.
But we were only concentrating on Huqum and it sure turned out to be the right decision.
Huqum has become one of my favourite Destinations of all time, and that is all thanks to my wife. In fact, this has to be one of my most romantic trips ever.
I have to admit that I was quite ill during this trip so I let her take control of my Jeep, which she handled very well.
Of course, the area isn’t what I would call an off-road haven but it is still an astonishing setting if you are an off-road enthusiast. I also wouldn’t mind saying that Huqum is a perfect destination for a morning or evening trek – it has definitely made it onto my list of top 10 places to hike in the Sultanate.
The mountains in the backdrop of the area also gave us a feeling of being in an artist’s painting. The view is stunning, and if you manage to catch the sunrise like we did, then rest assured: your day will go splendidly.
Currently, Huqum is quite dry (and the whole area is draped in ochre). But as soon as the March rains pour down, greenery will begin to kick in and the entire area should transform into a lush and picturesque setting.
Another feature of this area is the sense of its sheer expansive dimensions. As a result, you can simply drive towards the far end of Huqum, where there is little evidence of human activity.
My advice would be to head there to camp out. But make sure that you carry adequate supplies and fluids, as a run down to a nearby shop would still take you an hour or so (depending on where you set up).
We only decided to go half way into Huqum before settling down to capture a few pictures of our surroundings. But, since I was not feeling well, I found that working in the below 10-degree temperature to be quite a daunting task.
Nevertheless, I quickly snapped a few pictures, and retreated towards the Jeep for refuge.
One of my favourite pictures from this outing would have to be the mosque of Huqum. I was amazed to see how unchanged it was despite the many years it has been in service. I also remember how enchanted I was by this mosque during my last trip to Huqum in the early months of 2016.
By now, we had been sitting in the Jeep and were chatting away for hours, not knowing what the time was. And it was only when a group of bikers came trashing along one of the countless trekking paths on their Harleys and mountain bikes when we realised how quickly the time had passed.
Thick clouds were also forming behind the mountains, so we decided to make a sharp exit. For those of you drawn to trekking and camping, head to Huqum. Not only is the area accessible by road, it is also very close to the city, making it the perfect destination for a quick weekend getaway.
If you are travelling from Muscat, head to Al Amerat, and keep following the road that leads to the heart of the suburb. Roughly 22km into your journey, you will see a board that points towards Huqum. Follow the road until you hit the gravel road.
GPS coordinates: N23°20’42.4”; E58°23’03.9”