Category Archives: Waterfalls

The Secret Cave at Wadi Shab! A Definite Must See/Do in Oman!

ImageDuring the past 6 years of living in Oman, I’ve been to Wadi Shab a number of times.  In fact, I’m sure it’s the wadi I’ve traveled to the most out of the hundreds of wadis in all of the sultanate. (I’ve posted about Wadi Shab Resort, the Red Bull Cliff Diving Event there (posts 1, 2, 3, & 4) The most popular posts on Wadi Shab from this blog would have to be the touristy ones I wrote titled “Wadi Shab – Not to “Shabby“!” (Nov 1, 2009) and “More of the Beauty of Wadi Shab” (Nov 2, 2009).  Well, I think it’s time to share with my readers the most impressive part of Wadi Shab which is the “secret cave” beyond the more popular swimming areas that tourists tend to visit.ImageVery few people that I have spoken with about Wadi Shab have actually visited this cave.  Maybe it’s because there are no signs telling travellers where to go.  You either know about the place or friendly people along the path “in the know” might be able to direct you to it.ImageWhen my sister-in-law visited us here in the sultanate I knew she would be adventurous enough for the more than 45 minute hike to get there and a few minutes of swimming to get inside.  If you are not a good swimmer, please don’t even think about trying to reach this cave!!!ImageThis is inside the cave.  The place above the red rope is the best spot for diving into the water below if you are courageous enough!ImageThis cave reminds of something you might see in an Indiana-Jones type of movie!ImageWadi Shab itself is worth visiting. Don’t get me wrong.  But those who have been to the “secret cave” realize that a trip to Wadi Shab just isn’t the same without going inside.ImageImageThis is the part where people might turn back not realizing the experience they have just missed.  The cave opening in the picture above doesn’t look like much, but that small dark hole on the left side is the narrow tunnel leading to the cave.  Some people leave their belongings in bags here before swimming to the cave.  If you do make it here, I recommend bringing an underwater camera.  I DO NOT recommend bringing an expensive camera and trying to swim with one hand as I did.  Be sure to check the video below.  🙂ImageJust look at the color of that water!  Here is a video which I relucantly show you as you can hear me huffing and puffing as I swim while trying to capture the journey into the cave.  

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Some Serious Weather in Oman Since Nov. 1st!

It doesn’t rain that often in Oman and I remember the amusement over the rain when it first started on Tuesday, November 1st.  It continued on Wednesday, November 2nd and started looking a little more serious.  Here are a few pics I took on Wednesday of last week:

Markaz Al Bajha on Nov 2nd looked like a swimming pool but that was nothing compared to the water in other areas!

The rains in Oman since Nov. 1st have been anything but “child’s play” and anyone in Oman with friends on facebook with albums showing the damage knows exactly what I’m talking about.

This post by a “Yes Abroad Scholar”, tells the damage of the first storm that hit Oman at the very beginning of the 9-day Eid holiday last Wednesday.  I love the way she explains why the water, even after a mild rain, can have devastating results due to lack of proper drainage.  Here is a news report from the UAE’s Gulf News about 12 bodies recovered from the recent rains in Oman.

Check out this dramatic picture re-tweeted at least 100 times:

(I personally got this off a pic from a man twitting by the name of Abdullah Al-Jahwari.)  Anyone know where this occurred?

Here is a most recent article from Gulf News about the expected continuation of rain over the next few days.  They warn residents to stay away from wadis (valleys) and fishermen from venturing into the sea.  Another warning and more info in the Indian paper, Khaleej Times.  In the last few hours, I’ve received the following texts from “NCCD”:

The sad thing is that they do in fact need to send out these warnings even though the advice seem like “no-brainers”.

Here is the latest warning (with pics!) from the folks at Oman Daily Observer.

Here’s a weird “Earth Changes Report” that mentions Oman’s recent 2 tropical depressions to be a sign of something much bigger happening.

All of this has me thinking that Rummy, in her blogpost “Will We Ever Learn the Lesson”, is right in the need for some serious risk management here in the Sultanate!!!

“The Directorate-General of Meteorology and Air Navigation (DGMAN) calls upon all citizens and residents to exercise utmost caution during rains, and avoid crossing wadis.”  Be safe out there folks!

Natif Waterfall & Neighboring Cliffs, Southern Oman

  The sign outside the village of Hasik states that Natif (“Waterfall” I’m guessing) is 6 kms to the right but the cliffs along the way are so impressive that the 6 km drive flew by!  This is my favorite pic of the Natif area while I was there.  I love that there are Omanis at the bottom of the cliff which gives you an idea of the size of those cliffs!  If you go much futher down this road, the paved road turns to dirt road.  After a couple of kms down the dirtroad, there is a military checkpoint and a soldier will kindly tell you to turn around.  Photos prohibited! You’ve been warned!  Here’s the video I took: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hN2ijyO76bk  “The cascading waterfalls of Natif and the nearby pools fed by springs turn into picnic spots with people visiting them during the Khareef to enjoy nature at its best.” (Official Guide & Atlas Oman)

More of the Beauty of Wadi Shab!

wild flowers  Another wonderful pic from Harmen! (He gets full credit!)  This beautiful plant is known as “Sodom’s Apple” (Calotropis procera) From Oman Offroad: “Growing in sandy desert, this shrub occasionally reaches tree height and is common in overgrazed areas because goats and camels do not like eating the white latex that it produces.  The large leaves are covered with fine white hairs that create a moisture-retaining microclimate close to the surface of the leaf.  The fruits resemble squat bananas (not apple-shaped like those of the similar plant in North Africa) and contain thousands of seeds that are attached to long silken threads, enabling them to be carried far and wide by the wind when ripe.  The wood was once used to make charcoal for the production of gunpowder. (Arabic name: “ashar”)wadi shab beautypalm and waterfalls  Not the best photo of some waterfalls along the path towards the natural swimming pools at Wadi Shab.  Depending on when you go, there can be some really incredible scenes of water coming off the mountains I hear.omani boy and donkey  A local Omani boy and his donkey.  When I asked him for a photo, he demanded a small amount of money.  YES, I paid him.  You’d think he’d stop scratching his ear for a moment seeing how I paid top dollar for this picture, ha!ha!  🙂wadi and waterwater trinkle  A ” water fall trinkle” along the path.  The water oozing out of the rock kind of looks like oil, don’t you think?wadi scenefalaj in wadimighty mountainstoad in wadi  I first thought this was a “frog” but came to learn that there are no frogs in Oman!  “Of the two species of toad, this one, The Arabian Toad (Bufo orientalis), is the most common.  It lives in or near water and can survive long periods of drought by digging deep into the wadi gravel and staying in a state of torpor (inactivity) for many months or even years.  Tadpoles are a tasty titbit for many wild animals and after spring rains, wadi pools can hold thousands of them.” lizard in wadi  Check out that lizard!  Hard to see?  Ok, here’s a closeup for you!closeupoflizard  Jayakar’s Oman Lizard (Lacerta jakari)  “This is one of the two endemic lizards of the Hajar Mountains, and grows to a total length of 60cm, two-thirds of which consists of its tapering tail.  They live near water, often among the rocks that line the walls of a well in an oasis.  Since they are mainly active in the hot season and well camouflaged, they are not easily noticed!”  Oh, yeah, well you were noticed on this trip, little fella! 🙂water flowingwadi swimming pool  What you don’t see on this post are pictures of the INCREDIBLE swimming area within a cave at Wadi Shab.  We had to leave our bags (including cameras) before entering.  I am planning on getting an underwater housing unit for my camera sometime soon…The underwater cavern (not pictured here) is one of the most incredible places I’ve been to so far in Oman!  If you have the chance to visit Wadi Shab from Muscat, it’s well worth the almost 2 hour drive and 1 hour hike to the “secret cavern pool” (and 1 hour to return…)!  Bring plenty of water, a swimming suit and shoes with solid threads (a good grip!) if you’re going to brave this hike.  Be warned that this is not a hike for the faint of heart.

Wadi Darbat Waterfalls during Monsoon Season