Y Magazine

This wadi in Oman is perfect for water sports activities!

Shaquel al Balushi finds a wadi that’s just right for a cooling oasis escape from August’s stifling heat and haze.

When you think of water sporting activities such as paddle boarding or whitewater rafting, your mind immediately wanders to countries such as Norway, Austria or Switzerland.

These nations are known for some of the world’s most pristine waters although watersports are now sought by thrill-seekers from around the world.

Still, those thrills don’t come cheap: you’ll be shelling out anywhere between RO300 and RO500 for a weekend in any one of these countries, and that’s before you even talk of renting out a kayak or raft.

But what if I told you that you could partake of the same thrills without leaving Oman – does that sound a bit far-fetched?

Well then, you’ll be glad to know that there exists a wadi in Qabil, which lies en route to the more famous Wadi Dayqah in the fishing town of Quriyat.

Wadi Qabil is quiet – almost deserted – compared to the latter. However, that’s hardly a testament to the beauty and serenity of this wadi.

It’s one of those places I’d call a rare gem within the Sultanate. On the right day, you can drive down there with your rafts, pander in a spot of rafting, and then camp there with your mates for the night… all for free!

A part of me wanted to see if that was indeed the case, so I headed to Wadi Qabil along with my friend Imran.

There are no sign boards to the wadi so we asked for directions to the nearby village. Nevertheless, armed with an idea of the whereabouts of the wadi, we powered onwards.

The only way you can spot the entrance of the wadi is if you look out for a tired-looking boom gate that was initially intended to fend off unwanted visitors. It now lies open indefinitely.

The initial part of the drive to the wadi is a walk in the park – even your average sedan can forge through without breaking sweat. However, things only get difficult from there on, at which point I’d suggest you park your car and complete the rest of your journey on foot.

I wish someone had told me that because not so long after we encountered a clear stream of water that we boldly decided to drive through. I mean, how hard could it be for a brawny truck, right?

The mirror-like clarity of the water was such that we were coaxed into thinking that it wasn’t deep – but boy we were wrong.

Mother Nature can be a bit deceptive: that’s something we learned when we were halfway through the wadi.

The depth at the midway point nearly equalled the height of my truck! Yet, committed to refrain from stalling the vehicle, I gunned the throttle.

In a few moments, we were at the other end of the wadi, but the results were quite calamitous: the wadi rocks had ripped through the bumper and sheared off the number plate and other vital essentials from underneath the truck.

But what’s an adventure without a setback?

We didn’t let the mishap bother us and proceeded to place two chairs on the banks of the wadi to stop for a quick breather, after which I started clicking photos of the area.

Among the light-brown rocky landscape, there were bursts of green with shrubs and bushes – though quite scanty owing to the heat.

We wandered along the wadi at our own pace, stopping whenever we fancied a rest or dip in the refreshing water.

The currents in the wadi were strong. The reason for the strong flow can be put down to the stream of water originating from the mountains and partly from the dam in Wadi Dayqah.

This means the flow is strong enough for those looking to go rafting or kayaking too.

We did raft for a bit but found it to be a handful for us amateurs. The strong flow in the wadi meant that we were constantly thrown off the raft. We assume someone with better knowledge and skills in rafting will find Wadi Qabil a formidable challenge.

You don’t need to be an adventurist to enjoy the beauty of Wadi Qabil. It’s one of those rare locales that just has so much on offer. When you do eventually head there, it’s best to take a few friends along and make a day of it.

After all, there’s nothing quite like experiencing a sunset with your best mates, as the sound of gushing water hitting the rocks breaks the stillness of an otherwise silent valley.