Shaquel al Balushi gets a free pass to the very best nature can offer, right here in Oman.
There are certain locations around the world that invoke the photographer that lies dormant in you. The skies of Kiruna, in Sweden, during the aurora borealis; the gorgeous superstructure of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, and the golden sands of Watergate Bay in Cornwall, UK, are some locations where you cannot help but take out your phone or camera and snap a few pictures.
And this week, I decided to head to one such location in Oman: Wadi Dayqah. The wadi here is known to be picturesque, and has become a stopover for tourists visiting Oman. It is also one of the few places that has been extensively featured by international travel websites.
The drive to Wadi Dayqah is fairly straightforward too: you take highway 17 that leads to Quriyat, and turn off when you see the brown signboard that points towards the dam at Wadi Dayqah. The drive should only take an hour or so if you are coming from the capital, and you don’t even need a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
I decided to hit the wadi early in the morning before the tourists and other visitors clogged up the area. So I was ready for my shoot even before the crack of dawn. As I said earlier, Wadi Dayqah is an area that is photogenic – you don’t even have to be a professional to capture ethereal shots.
What is also astonishing is the fact that the wadi speaks to the 12-year-old boy in me. I remember coming to the wadi for the first time with my parents and siblings. I remember us laying a mat on the rocky sands and sitting down to have lunch. I also remember running around and jumping into the cool waters to beat the summer heat.
As I grew up, I started hanging out in the wadi with my friends. We used to camp and even have barbeque parties there. I have never had any bad memories at Wadi Dayqah, to be honest.
And just as I was reminiscing on my past, I noticed that the rays of the sun had begun shining down on the serene waters of the wadi. It was truly spectacular!
There were clouds scattered across the sky, and I thought it would be perfect to capture a few shots. Sunrise, however, only lasted for a few minutes, and before I even knew it, the sun had taken over the darkness. I then began scouting the area for some nice pictures.
It didn’t take me long to realise that tourism has completely changed the face of Wadi Dayqah. For instance: there’s a new park that has been set there for picnics, and there are also many sheltered areas if you want to sit down and have some quality time with your friends or family. Mind you: that’s a very good thing. I completely support tourism projects in Oman.
Sadly, however, throughout the day, the surroundings were eerily quiet. The sound of water gushing out from a dam is undoubtedly one of the most amazing sounds a man-made structure can produce.
After that, I decided to head atop the tallest portion of the wadi. From there, I was able to get a complete panoramic view of the mountains, the almost turquoise blue water and the many island-like rocks that seemed to be afloat on the waters – sort of like stray rocks floating into the horizon.
After my photoshoot, I decided to spend some time relaxing in the waters. Compared to the surroundings, the wadi waters were very cool and tranquil. It felt like I was taking a detoxifying swim in one of those ultra-luxurious health spas – and at no cost! And that’s what makes Wadi Dayqah special: this is your free pass into the very best that nature can offer you.
The dam is just over 100km from Muscat and can be reached by travelling towards Quriyat on road number 17. Just before Quriyat you will find a roundabout with a brown road sign directing you straight to Wadi Dayqah. Turn there and follow the directions.