Shaquel al Balushi revisits a favourite beauty spot that never fails to clear his mind and rejuvenate him for the week ahead.
There’s a saying that goes: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Roughly translated, it means that something one person finds beautiful or admirable may not appeal to another. It’s just a way of life, and it helps us learn more about the people we deal with, and helps us to better understand our perception of an object or person.
However, if there is one place – from all the Destination trips that I have taken over the past three years of work at Y – that begs to differ from that statement, it is Mazare.
“Why?” you ask.
Well, it’s simple. It is a beautiful valley that was sculpted into existence by the water body that used to flank the area centuries ago.
Of course, today, Mazare is as dry as a bone but evidences of hydro life still exist in the area. It’s almost eerie how nature (and time) strives hard to preserve even the slightest signs of a bygone age.
That’s enough philosophy for today, though.
My adventure began when I took my friend – Sarah – who was visiting Oman and who had asked me to take her outside Muscat for a spot of sightseeing. I knew that Mazare would be my location of choice solely due to the fact that it left my jaw gaping with its sheer beauty and serenity the last time I was there.
Our drive took a long two hours due to the fact that we took the highway on Route 17 slowly. It should take you less than that if you’re keeping with the pace of the traffic. Thankfully, the roads are well-marked and you should come across the blue sign board for the turn-off towards Mazare.
We then trundled along the dirt track until we reached the heart of Mazare.
This is where the landscape takes a complete swap for the better; the stress from the hours of driving suddenly seemed to dissipate.
What lay ahead of us was sheer magnificence: striking stone trees and an unbelievable mountainous skyline. You must see it in person.
The stones there, I presume, were whittled into the small tree-shaped structures by centuries of being exposed to the elements. One of my friends had earlier explained that the whole area was under water at some point in its existence.
Mazare is a dream location for a photographer like me so I quickly grabbed my camera gear and started snapping photos for the magazine.
I had hit the jackpot.
But, do note that several locals trail Mazare to get to the other side of the valley. So, you must be sensitive not to offend the travellers if you decide to camp there or spend time with your friends.
Instead of walking, I decided to push my Jeep to the limits in Mazare – taking care not to clip any of the rock formations, lest it leave a deep scratch on my paintwork. If you are feeling adventurous, though, you must explore the valley on foot.
Today, Mazare is considered dry land, with water bringing the valley to life only post the winter rains in Oman.
In contrast, the lush and green Wadi Arbaeen is only a few minutes’ drive away from Mazare. It’s almost inexplicable how the two locations are juxtaposed despite being separated by only a strip of a mountain range.
It is a question I have found myself asking over the course of my time there. But, every time I found myself lost in a cache of my own questions, I looked up, and the wisps of clouds that clad the sky simply cleared my mind; it was magical yet seductive and overly dramatic.
I have undertaken several destinations for Y Magazine but never have I seen anything quite like Mazare. It is a location that every resident of the Sultanate must visit before leaving the country because if I were to describe the beauty of Oman in two locations, Mazare would be on top of my list.
How to get there?
From Muscat, travel on Route 17 for 120km and then exit right. Follow the road until it turns to a dirt track. When you reach a T-junction, take a right turn, following the sign to Mazare. You won’t be able to miss the rock formations when you arrive.
GPS location of the dam in Wadi Dayqah: N23° 4’ 51.334”; E58° 55’ 32.005”