Past oases and through abandoned villages, we join Dariush on a road trip to some of Oman’s splendid scenic offerings
Time Out Dubai staff
How it’s done
From Dubai, take the Al Ain Road straight into Al Ain. From Abu Dhabi, take Khalifa Ibn Zayed Street into the centre of Al Ain. From Al Ain, make your way to Buraimi, which is clearly signposted and head towards the hospital. The Buraimi roundabout is next to the hospital, from there turn onto the Al Jizi-Sohar Road heading east. Go straight for 17.7km, where you will reach a roundabout. Take a left at that roundabout, signposted for Sohar Road and the entrance to A’Subaitah is 16.7km up that road. Take a left at the signpost, where you’ll see a pylon and power station. After four kilometres you will hit Wadi A’Subaitah.
Leave the car at the entrance to the wadi and begin a gentle hike into the oasis itself. There’s a clear track to follow, so there’s no way of getting lost if you don’t stray from the path. A nice trip into the wadi can be had by following the falaj (ancient irrigation system) from the main pool in the oasis, which eventually reaches a dead end.
Back in the car, head back to the main road where you turned off for A’Subaitah, and turn left. After 5.5km, you’ll reach the border post. Get your passport ready. From here, take the signposted turnoff to Kitnah on the right just after the border post, ascend up the slightly steep track into town for a fantastic view of the oasis and to explore this quaint, friendly Omani village.
Drive through the village of Kitnah until you see a turnoff that leads to Huwail. You can see the wadi from the main track, only about one kilometre away, and the track will eventually come to a dead end. This is a good place to picnic, and it’s worth having a look around for the pool that leads into a huge gorge. It’s perfect for swimming – and if you continue through the gorge you’ll reach a cave where the water feeds in. Come back to the turnoff for Wadi Huwail and continue down that main track for four kilometres, passing through the small town of Daqeeq.
Here the track is obvious, if slightly rough, but it’s still a fantastic route that rises and falls through this lush wadi area. (With Jebel Muqaylit hitting 1,640ft, it’s a good spot for photography.) Keep to the main track until you reach the Tarmac at Faiz. From here it’s a straight drive through Wadi Arjan.
If it’s late and you don’t want to go on further, take the left at the border post, heading back to the Ibri Road, which connects to Buraimi and Al Ain. If you do want to camp, at the border post, turn right heading towards Madbah. There’ll be a signpost up to Madbah itself, heading off to the right up a hilly road.
A four-kilometre drive will take you to the entrance of the wadi, but take the northward track to Hamad, and at Hamad, follow the track into Madbah. It’s an excellent place to camp.
The next day, get back onto the track from Hamad, heading in a westerly direction until you hit the Tarmac road. Take a right and head straight for 21.3km until you hit a roundabout. Turn left to come back into Buraimi.
Bring your passport
While it’s not always checked, it’s advisable to bring your passport with you. There are two border crossings on this route. You won’t get a stamp in your passport. Omani car insurance is also required which you can purchase at the border posts.
Planning your trip This is an easy route, but preparation is essential and novices should go in a convoy. The route can be done in one day, or stretched over two, with camping at Madbah. A 4x4 is required, but clear tracks and routes mean that a GPS is not essential.