Shaquel al Balushi seeks out one of his favourite spots for some R&R and blissful solitude.
How often have you had to look for something for hours before realising that what you were looking for was just under your nose – somewhere close by and obvious?
Well, it happens to me always, and this was also the case for me this week.
Except, I did not lose anything but rather was on the lookout for a place to visit for my Destination outing.
After hours of pondering where I would head to, I simply looked out of the window of my house and realised that I hadn’t been to Wadi Al Amerat in ages!
It was also 11am by the time I had made up my mind – a whole five hours ahead of my usual start – when I usually head someplace outside the capital. So, I decided that it was best I stuck to a place I knew very well. And in a few minutes, I was out to explore the wadi.
As opposed to exploring it on foot, I decided to put my (recently) not-so-trusty Jeep to the test as it had come back from the repair shop. A bit of a challenge but one that I knew I would enjoy nonetheless.
I was also alone this time, and thought it be best because I could take my time and explore every corner; no more of being bossed around by friends, deadlines or curfews.
Upon entering the wadi, I realised that there was still a lot of water. This is also typical of the wadi in Al Amerat; it is always teeming with wildlife thanks to the fresh water. I then came across a beautiful lagoon, separated by the few patches of rocks.
The water here is constantly replenished by the source, making it sterile for relaxing and thereby, a perfect spot for camping overnight.
Still, I carried onwards.
In a few metres, I came across a very attractive bird; unlike anything I had seen in this region. I presumed it to be a Grey Heron – the species of bird found only in northern parts of the Sultanate – and was amazed to see it here.
So, I tried capturing it with my DSLR camera. And with the aperture set to 1/8000 I was all set to chase the bird down. Surprisingly, every time I got close to the bird, it took off. I would then rush back to my Jeep and chase it down before repeating the whole sequence again. In the end, all I had was a blurry picture of the wily bird, which is why there are no photos of it here.
In some ways, I think it was teasing me. I soon gave up and decided to simply enjoy the scenery and capture it for the magazine before heading back home.
But then all of a sudden – just as I was leaving – it came and stood by me. I thought of it as a peace offering and snapped an image while I could.
I then looked around to find that I was deep inside the wadi – the most I had ever gone into… ever. And the setting was simply spectacular. Patches of water flanked the rocks, moistening the surface ever so slightly to make the rocks shine in the afternoon sun.
The temperature is also perfect, and the humidity is low, making it a breeze for me to shoot. I would have already melted into a puddle of my own perspiration in most other locations. But, thanks to Mother Nature’s strategic placement of the rocks, I was always in the shade, being protected from the villainous afternoon rays.
It was then that I realised the wadi would be perfect for a spot of overnight camping. It is far from civilisation making it secluded, the temperature is moderate and the rocks are perfect for a tent and chair. The presence of water also means it is a perfect ground for some light (and lazy) fishing.
The resulting catch can then be set on some fire and grilled. Just the thought of all that made my mouth water.
So, I swiftly went back to my car for a drive back home. All my supplies – the potato chips, peanuts and sodas – soon didn’t seem enough to satisfy my hunger. I needed to have some freshly grilled fish.
My drive back took 50 minutes but when I was back, I knew that it wasn’t the last time I would be heading there. As a matter of fact, I have already planned a camping session with my friends for this week. Life is good.
How to get there?
The wadi is very easy to reach and only takes around 15 minutes from Muscat. Turn right at the Shell petrol station next to the highway in Wattayah and head towards Amerat. Once you’ve driven through the mountains, take the first exit at the first roundabout you come to. Double back on yourself and you will find the old road next to the new one.
GPS Coordinates: N23° 32’ 22.758”
E58° 30’ 59.202”