Tanuf is a wonderful destination for families. The rugged mountains and the mystic remains will keep the little ones intrigued long enough for the adults to take a swim in the wadi. Shaquel al Balushi explores the mud-houses and crystal-clear waters to discover the ancient charms.
Another day, another adventure. Isn’t life idyllic when you get to walk around, soaking in the various shades of Oman without having to worry about any of the drama and tensions linked with daily life?
Well, if you cannot relate with me, then you definitely need to start setting aside your weekends towards exploring Oman. There’s a zing – a positive vibe if I may say – to this country that no other state in the GCC can quite capture.
This feeling that I talk about is exactly what I came across this week on my trip to the outskirts of the Sultanate.
My point of interest was the springs of Tanuf – the legendary location that has given birth to some of the most prominent history lessons in school and several businesses (i.e. the water and tissue paper company) which share the same name.
Tanuf isn’t just about the water bottles that are stacked up in supermarkets and coffee shops; the place bears a much stronger meaning to us Omanis. It was once an important part of the region –the first signs of human existence here date back to the pre-Islamic period.
Today, the ruins of mud-brick houses are a reminder of the wadi’s dramatic past.
Tanuf also lay victim to several bombs by the British Air Force during the historical uprising crushed by the Sultan of Oman. The war literally shook Tanuf to bits, and the ruins of the same can – till date – be seen there while sightseeing.
It’s almost eerie. Unsurprisingly, all of this means Tanuf is currently a heaven for tourists looking to learn about the history of the country and take a swim in the wadi’s crystal-clear waters.
The drive to the wadi took me a solid two hours. The location is en route to Bahla – similar to the route we took a few weeks back (to Kumma).
On the highway, you should see a turn-off towards Tanuf; a few kilometres off the renowned Nizwa Fort.
Upon reaching, I noticed that there wasn’t much water in the wadi, or even in the overlying dam. It was a pity, I thought; it had only rained on the outskirts a few days ago.
The famous dam of Tanuf was also on the brink of exhausting its water reserves. The only possibility of seeing some water in the wadi is post the rains, which is expected sometime early in 2018.
Nevertheless, I unpacked my camera kit and began clicking away.
The sun was glaring down on me, which affected some of my photos –the afternoon rays are every photographer’s nightmare.
I believe things will be different in the winter months. It is the best time to visit the location, too.
Upon scouring the rocks, I noticed the ruins; they are located a few metres from the vast valley of narrow and sloping rocks. Walking through, it made me feel like I was exploring a canyon of some sorts.
For a few moments , I felt like Bear Grylls exploring new and unknown lands.
The centre of Tanuf contains the remains of a big building. Today, only sections of the tower are intact. I found it redundant to head inside and explore the location again, as I had written about the ruins a few years back.
But my primary goal was to photograph the picturesque setting behind the ruins; the mountains that seemed to spread on forever and the green trees that flank the underlying wadi, as you can see here.
Tanuf is a wonderful place for families to visit. There’s plenty of shade, there’s adequate amount of vegetation to break the otherwise brown mountains, and the ruins will keep the little ones intrigued long enough for you to kill the exhaustion with a nice quick swim.
Just make sure to head there after the winter showers, and keep an eye out for possible flash floods.
How to get there?
From Muscat, drive to Nizwa. Pass Nizwa and head straight to Hamra. Around 20km behind Nizwa is village called Tanuf. Follow the brown road signs.