Tag Archives: Wadi Shab Oman

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.  

Red Bull Cliff Diving at Wadi Shab (Part 1) – Welcome & Warmup

The Red Bull Cliff Diving 2012 Final was held at Wadi Shab, September 27th, and it was a fabulous excuse to head back to this beautiful oasis in the middle of the desert. (As if one needs an excuse to return here! 🙂 )

A lot of people were curious as to how they would get everyone across the water filled wadi. Normally locals ferry you across in small boats for a small fee.  Here was the solution!

Gates opened at 9:30am this morning.  This was the scene approaching the dive area after 9:45am.  It was a 10-15 minute walk from the bridge for most spectators or a 5 minute drive for friends/media.  Look at all the people up high in the cliffs.  Some of the people there must have mountain goat climbing skills!

This was the site.  Notice the stairs that lead up to the VIP section on the left and the diving board WAY up on the right cliff. 27 meters up to be exact.

Looking back towards the wadi entrance

How did they get up there!?

It’s not that clear in this photo but the VIP section is directly across the wadi and water. Notice the typical chairs laid out for special dignitaries.

A better look at the VIP/media area.  Notice the white tent from which there was a constant stream of free Red Bull and water (and some kind of appetizers).

They had 5 or 6 Omani girls (of which you see 4 here) dressed up for photo opps with tourists, I guess.  This was an official tourism event, so nice touch!

We mustn’t forget the cute Omani boys! 🙂

And of course wherever there is a Red Bull event, you can expect to see Red Bull ladies.

The warm-up dives started shortly after 11:30am.

Orlando Duque from Columbia in mid-air

And the crowd goes wild! Well, at least the ones on this rock…

Does this pic look like an optical illusion to you? It does to me even though it hasn’t been manipulated in any way (as if I’d know how to do that anyway, ha!).

This was pretty cool when they were introducing the divers one by one and they were all dressed up as local Omanis! 🙂

Would you dive from such a height?!

Be sure to check in later this week for pics and videos from the actual competition.  If you missed out on the event, no worries. Come on by and enjoy the event through my lense! You’ll feel like you were there with me in the VIP area and didn’t miss a thing!  🙂

In the meantime, enjoy this 50 second video of 2 separate dives I captured on my Blackberry Bold 9790 and put together using Youtube Editor:

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 Shab – Not too “shabby”!

wadi shab beginningwadi shab signboats at wadi shab  These clever gents from Tiwi have made quite a business for themselves.  They transport families across the river here from the parking area to the walkable side of the valley.all aboardwaters of wadi shab  Many tourist websites include this wadi on the the top ten list of must-sees in Oman (and with good reason)!beautiful birdbird closeup  This awesome close-up was taken by Harmen (www.harmeninoman.blogspot.com ) on his camera.mountains and palmcliffswadi shab scenerywadi pools  There are many incredible pools to swim in at Wadi Shab!wadi waterpeople in wadi water