Wadi shab and bimmah sinkhole

 

Once we had our fill of turtle watching, we headed into Sur to return to Gloria Jean’s. We soaked up some wifi, had breakfast (instant oats and instant coffee) and decided on our route for the day. We drove around an hour to Wadi Shab, another well known swimming hole in Oman. At Wadi Shab we parked, bought some water at the coffee shop there, and then were lead to a boat where we paid 1 OMR for a round trip ride to the other side of the wadi where the trailhead begins. We probably could have walked/swam/waded across but this is the easiest way to do it. The hike up the valley was breathtaking, but also very very hot. I was so happy I had my ice cold water with me. There wasn’t much of a trail in some locations but as long as you head into the valley away from where you started you’ll make it there eventually. The scenery here is fantastic, with super high cliffs and super blue water. This was the location of the Red Bull cliff diving championships one year, so you can imagine just how tall these cliffs are. The trail hugs the cliff in some parts and winds along the drainage canals and pipes in other parts. But about 40 minutes and 10 pounds of sweat later we made it. Well actually we initially went too far down the valley and the cliffs were too steep for us to climb down into the water so we had to backtrack but it wasn’t too much of a hassle. We took a long refreshing swim in the pool of water before adventuring upstream. We walked and scrambled through beautiful narrow cliffs until we got to the end, where there’s a tiny little opening about a foot wide and two feet high of air that you can swim into a secret caves. Apparently other times of the year this passageway is covered in water so you have to hold your breath and swim the whole way. Inside was pure magic. A hidden waterfall with steep ledges and a little sinkhole to allow light in. It was spectacular. (Honestly I have a ton of videos, not many pics, I promise to make a YouTube video soon!) We spent a few hours here. A few other Omani locals as well as tourists trickled in and out, but at times we had it all to ourselves. For the more adventurous you can climb up the falls and “slide” into the water from the cliffs on the side. I wasn’t feeling too daring, but I enjoyed watching the locals do it, and having the time of their life. There’s also a small little cave/passageway underneath the waterfall that you can swim through, it’s gorgeous, and I highly recommend it! Once we were sick of treading water we headed back to the first pool where we relaxed in the refreshing water and got more “fish pedicures”. After wadi shab we headed to wadi tiwi, which apparently you need a 4×4 car to really see, but we did some of the drive down the riverbed, and it was pretty! For lunch we headed to Wadi Shab resort, with an incredible view of a beautiful beach. Unfortunately you could only access the beach if you were staying on the resort, which was quite a shame because it was so beautiful and there wasn’t anyone on it. IMG_8855IMG_8858IMG_8857For “lunch” I had hummus and pita, and chugged some water to avoid dehydration.  Our next stop was to get gas, so we headed towards bimmah and filled up the tank and I got some snacks at the store there. We headed to the sink hole next, which FYI has another park name so we got a little lost, but found it eventually. If you go to Wadi Shab from Muscat don’t miss this little swimming hole, it’s a mix of fresh and salt water and is just a nice little place to have a rest and go for a refreshing swim. Ann Marie and I climbed up the side of the wall and jumped in, some locals jumped all the way from the top but I was definitely not about to be a dumb tourist. We ended up hanging in the shallow part, getting a little pedicure from the fish once again. We stayed for a while, maybe 1-2 hours enjoying the views and talking to the locals. I expected tourists to be here but we only saw like one other group and they just walked down and took a million photos and left, without even swimming.

After the Bimmah Sinkhole we went on a dinner mission, which was a lot harder than we anticipated. We continued driving towards muscat, using Maps.Me to find the nearby “towns”. We got off the highway at the Qurat, and searched aimlessly for a restaurant. Eventually we found where we want to be, another restaurant that was literally called “restaurant”. We asked for vegetarian and got our classic meal of pirattah and veggies. IMG_8853Honestly it was delicious so I can’t complain at all. We had a smoothie for dessert and then attempted to find a good campsite on the beach. After driving for 20 minutes and driving down crazy narrow dirt roads in residential areas, we decided just to get back on the highway and return to Bimmah where we saw some campsites at the beach right across from the sinkhole. By the time we got there it was around 8/9ish, so we set up the tent on the sandy beach. Unfortunately, humidity was absolutely insane and I was dripping sweat outside, but that’s what you get for camping in the Middle East in the summer!

As Ann Marie went to sleep, I grabbed my flashlights and checked out some massive hermit crabs that were scrambling along the shoreline. I also noticed some beautiful shells and of course I couldn’t help myself but collect them! So I spent maybe 40 minutes crouching down in the dark collecting beautiful Omani shells. One of my favorite things to do at he beach is find shells so I can later look at my collection, draw some of the prettiest ones, or go back home and work on identifying what I found. A super nerdy (but free) souvenir!

 

IMG_8836
Camels on the road near Bimmah sinkhole!

 

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