THINGS TO DO
EXTRAORDINARY TRIP THROUGH THE SULTANATE’S AUTHENTIC INTERIOR
The Sultanate’s main mountain range is the 10,000 foot Al Hajar, which runs from Musandam in the North to the extreme limit of the Arabian Peninsula, Ras Al Had.
OMAN by UTMB® is a runner’s dream – an ultra trail along mountain top ridges, through villages, palm plantations, deep wadis and narrow gorges. Your journey will lead you off the beaten tourist tracks, allowing you to explore the Sultanate’s hidden gems that are located deep within its rugged, untouched landscapes. The trail’s a treat for the senses; you’ll enjoy breathtaking views and historic plantations alongside the sights and smells offered by lush terraces teeming with pomegranates, figs, almonds, grapes, apples and roses.
Places To Visit Near OMAN by UTMB®
Nizwa is a city brimming with culture and heritage located at the foot of Jebel Al Akhdar, approximately 160km from Muscat, about 1.5 hours’ drive from the capital. The largest city in the Ad Dakhiliyah region is one of the oldest cities in the Sultanate and was once the centre of trade and capital of Oman in the 6th and 7th centuries AD, with those traditions continuing today. Ancient fortifications around the city still stand and the fort with its large circular tower is visible from afar – a great landmark to keep looking out for when exploring the old part of Nizwa.
BIRKAT AL MOUZ
Serving as the dramatic backdrop to the Oman by UTMB® starting area, Birkat Al Mouz literally means ‘a pool of bananas’ and is one of the most famous ruined villages in the Sultanate. Located at the entrance of Wadi al-Muaydin on the southern rim of Jebel Al Akhdar, it is home to a restored fort called Bait al Redidah. With the two sets of ruins, a large banana plantation and the scenic surroundings, the area is also home to the old falaj irrigation system, a UNESCO World heritage site. Birkat Al Mouz is an enchanting stop that will transport you back in time and allow you to explore the ruins of the tribes that lived in the mountains for centuries now surrounded by more modern banana plantations. The village also provides excellent access to Jebel Al Akhdar for hiking and exploring one of the most scenic regions of the country.
Nestled at the foot of the Al Hajar Mountains, Al Hamra is a 400-year-old town in the Ad Dakhiliyah region of northeastern Oman. Al Hamra has numerous mudbrick buildings making up its old centre. Best explored on foot, the settlement includes Bait Al Safah – a museum where locals show visitors first-hand the daily household routine of a traditional Omani house. Some of the oldest preserved houses in Oman are found in Al Hamra. Many of the houses have two, three and even four storeys, with ceilings made of palm beams and fronds topped by mud and straw. Visitors to the nearby souq can watch a halwa maker at work making the traditional sweet dish in the only halwa shop still operating in the old souq. Located a short drive up the mountain from Ibri are the beehive tombs of Al Ayn and Bat, both of which form part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They are the world’s most complete collection of settlements and necropoleis from the 3rd millennium BC, and well worth the two-hour drive from Al Hamra.
JEBEL AL AKHDAR
Jebel Al Akhdar, the Green Mountain, offers spectacular views along its many hiking paths. A walk through the hillside leads through orchards growing pomegranates; peaches, walnuts and other crops thrive in the cooler temperatures here. The area is renowned for damask roses that cover the mountain slopes in large swaths of pink during spring. These roses are distilled to make Omani rose water — a staple in every Omani household for centuries, used for fragrance, culinary and medicinal purposes. The mountain features the highest point in Oman and the whole of eastern Arabia, approximately 150km from Muscat. Jebel Al Akhdar is an incredibly popular hiking, climbing and camping destination, and one of the most popular places in the Sultanate. Guided tours are available and the summit has several well-appointed resorts. It is possible to trek around the area, encountering small mountain villages and their surrounding terrace fields – with amazing views of the mountain at every turn. One of the most popular climbing routes is the Via Ferrata which is equipped with fixed wire cables, metal rungs and ladders to help visitors ascend steep rock faces in relative safety while reducing the amount of climbing equipment required.