Driving south from Muscat, the road was easy enough to follow. Passing a few villages, and cutting through a narrow passage in the mountains, the turnoff for Yitta through Wadi Mayh was reached in some twenty minutes. The landscape changed immediately: the open plains we had been driving on before, were substituted by limestone cliffs through which the road was leading us. The road soon changed from a perfectly tarred road to one that was gravel, but still easy to negotiate. Moreover, it only added to our sense of driving into a remote area of the country.
The cliffs towering over the sides of the Wadi Mayh canyon through which we were driving, consisted of bare, solid rocks, giving a sense of utter dryness. However, down in the wadi, we often saw patches of green: trees, often date palms, and lower bushes along where in and after the wet season, the river runs. Indeed, in some areas, we could still see pools of water, reflecting the trees and surrounding cliffs of the wadi. But mostly, the riverbed was completely dry, even though, considering the width of the riverbed, we assumed that the river must be quite wide. We tried to imagine how different Wadi Mayh would look just after the rainy season. But now, the wadi left a desert-like impression, and seeing a spot of green in the distance felt like approaching an oasis.
After passing several villages with typical Omani houses, almost square and with bright colours, we decided to stop in one. We parked the car, and explored the village itself. Before we entered the village, we had to cross the irrigation channel, or falaj, that runs through the wadi, providing the plantations with water throughout the year. A short walk confirmed that the village only consisted of a few houses, and we could not resist the temptation to walk into the small valley ending in Wadi Mayh. The december sun provided a pleasant temperature to walk in, and it was easy to follow the trail leading up the valley. We passed rocks and trees, and felt dwarfed by the rugged mountains towering above this small valley. When we reached the end of it, where it had narrowed so much that continuing to walk would mean actually climbing out of it, we decided to turn around and walk back. We walked mostly in the completely dry riverbed and tried to imagine how the valley would look in the rainy season: the riverbed looked quite broad; still, it was hard to imagine a wild river running down this dry landscape. When we reached our car again, we drove through the eastern side of the wadi, where we reached the main road to Muscat. Before we realized, we were back in the city, always knowing that an isolated wadi was just waiting less than half an hour away.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Wadi Mayh (Oman). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Wadi Mayh.
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