Hail al Ghaf: The Perfect Spot For A Quick Weekend Getaway Wadi Dayqah

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15 Dec 2018 Posted By Y Magazine


Y’s Shaquel al Balushi revisits the village of Hail al Ghaf where time has stood still and ancient technology still thrives.

With the memories of a hot summer day in the village and wadi of Hail al Ghaf in my mind from a previous trip in 2017, it was clear I had to go again; this time in winter. 

Filled with much adventure, laughter and exasperating trekking, it had been one of my favourite trips despite being a tad strenuous.

This time around, however, I kept it simple: explore the village, find how much had changed around the wadis, and retrace the path to the famous peak from which one can gaze upon the entire region.

Reaching Hail al Ghaf is relatively easy – the village is a little way ahead of Wadi Dayqah; a mere 80 minutes’ drive away from the capital. There are well-marked sign boards that will direct you there, too.

Upon reaching the village, my friend Aliston and I were in complete awe. Essentially a farmers’ town, Hail al Ghaf must be the lushest village I’d ever visited outside of the confines of Salalah.

Everything from banana trees, crops and flowers are grown in the village – and it’s all brought to life by the afalaj that runs through the settlement. It’s a wonderful sight indeed, and I had to point my camera towards the plots of lands sitting brim with lush green plants.

This also makes the village a haven for a wide variety of birds.

The two of us weren’t nearly as well-equipped as someone like the natural historian David Attenborough but we could identify a few eagles, bee-eaters, desert larks and scaly thrushes (a rare bird to spot in Oman).

After a few hours of attempted birdwatching and blurry bird images – stemming from their quick senses – we gave up and headed to the wadi, which is only a few metres away from the village.

Heading into it would require a decent off-road rig – a truck or an SUV with off-road tyres, at the very least. The combination of pebbles and sharp rocks makes scouting the terrain quite arduous – and could also strain the vehicle if not undertaken properly. 

That said, it’s also vital to travel with a few friends that can tow you if you’re stuck, or push you out.

Thankfully, we could navigate through the dry pebbles to safer ground. From there we could park and head out exploring. The peak we wanted to scale was a long 200-odd metre trek up the mountain but the results were truly mesmerising. From the summit, you can see the entire village, its greenery, and the surrounding wadi.

There, you can also view the intricate afalaj system providing water to the nearby areas. The wadi itself is dry but it should fill up with water in the summer months when the Wadi Dayqah dam is opened. Still, there’s something oddly satisfying watching water flow through the short man-made canals while the more arid areas of the land stay dry.

It’s truly spectacular that people thought about this simple yet effective technology centuries ago – the irrigation system is more than 5,000 years old.

We spent another hour or so lingering on the peak, soaking in the gusts of cold air that made our stopover even more relaxing.

Hail al Ghaf isn’t what I’d call a campers’ paradise – the pebbles make setting up tents a difficult task. Despite that, adventurists, trekkers and bird-watchers should include it their itineraries.

By incorporating all these riveting features with the area’s accessibility and its array of flora and fauna you’re left with an experience you can’t easily forget.


Wadi Dayqah
Difficulty: Medium – with heavy off-roading
Dist. from Muscat: 125kms

GPS Location

Known For

Adventure, Family Tour, Great drive, Hiking, Off road


To reach Hail Al Ghaf, take the exit towards Quriyat from Wadi Al Kabir. Proceed towards Wadi Dayqah, and en route, you will find a sign board that points towards the village.

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