Sunday 11 May 2014

Across the Mountains of Oman

I'm in Oman on a media tour with two other Aussie travel writers, and yesterday we took the long way round to reach the fertile Jabal Akhdar region in the mountains. Long - and unsealed - but very scenic.

We started at the town of Nakhal outside the Omani capital, Muscat. The big attraction here is an impressive fort which dates back to pre-Islamic times:

Our guide and driver, Said, kindly acted as photo model while checking his iPhone:

Next we headed to the nearby Ayn Al Thawwarah hot springs. As it was a weekend, there were plenty of locals chilling out by and in the beautifully clear water:

Our next stop as we climbed into the mountains was Wadi Bani Awf. It's known in English as Snake Gorge, a spectacular canyon:

 Then began the climb to Jabal Akhdar through the Hajar Mountains.

There's a more direct way to get there from Muscat along sealed roads, but the unsealed route winds through spectacular rugged scenery (though you really have to hire an experienced local driver to take you there, unless you're a superbly experienced four-wheel drive expert).

We paused further on to take in the view of the village of Bilad Sayt:

And some spectacular geology:

And eventually arrived at the Alila Jabal Akhdar resort to this, a celebration of its opening day...

... and this - sunset across the infinity pool. A reward for taking the long way round.

Disclosure time... On this trip I travelled courtesy of Oman Tourism.

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