7 Things to you Must-know before a Wadi Shab Hike
A Wadi Shab Hike is a must do for anyone who is visiting Oman. A wadi, in Arabic, means a valley, ravine or channel. Wadi Shab translates to a ‘Ravine between Cliffs’. Given below are 7 things you MUST know in order to make the most of your trip to Wadi Shab.
Wadi Shab hike can be accomplished, even if you do not have a four wheel drive
After spending hours and hours looking for Al Hoota Cave the day before, we were pleasantly surprised when we reached Wadi Shab Hike without any complications. Oman is a country where you will need a four-wheel drive to reach many of the best tourist destinations. Lucky Wadi Shab Hike is easily accessible in a salon car, so you do not need to worry about transport.
Another standard difficulty in Oman is that Google Maps does not work too well within the country. Due to this we took many wrong turns and spent a lot of time wandering around. However, the road to Wadi Shab is very straight forward. All you have to do is make it to the highway, and then you can easily rely on the signboards to tell you which exit to take.
It takes around an hour to reach the lake and.. !
Once you reach Wadi Shab hike area, you have to take a small boat, which is very cheap, that will take you from the parking lot to the starting point of the trek, which is not accessible on foot, but is only a minute or two by boat. Once you reach the other side, be prepared for a fun trek, walking on narrow paths, climbing on and off huge rocks and sometimes, even simple easy paths. Overall, it took us 1 hour to reach the lake and then 1 hour to get back. However, on the way back, time flew and we reached the entrance of the valley before we knew it. This short trek, in the narrow gorge, can be done by anyone with average stamina levels.
However, be prepared for many stops in the middle, in which you will undoubtedly be taking out pictures and just observing the beauty around you. The valley is a fantastic structure and has beautiful rivers you will enjoy. There is even a spot for the more adventurous people to jump off the cliff and straight into a pool. However, be careful as, if you choose the wrong spot, you will hit the rocks at the bottom!
A Lake, Which You HAVE to swim!
The best part of Wadi Shab is the beautiful lake at the end of the trek. After the strenuous hike, the lake is a blessing and swimming in the cool water was extremely reinvigorating and refreshing. Make sure you are wearing your swimming costume as there is no proper place to change near the lake, though there is a public toilet in the parking lot at the entrance.
However, it is important to know that the rocks at the bottom are covered with moss and in some areas, it gets extremely slippery, so be careful! Also if you do not know how to swim, it is better not to venture out into the deeper side, as the water looks calm, but there can be a current underneath that is stronger than you would think! Even though the valley goes on even after the lake, it is not accessible for people, so after you have enjoyed your swim, you have to go back the way you came!
Don’t miss the Cave!
If you keep swimming once you reach the lake, you will reach a beautiful hidden cave, with a waterfall inside. It is a tiny cave, but it is worth the effort to go inside and see the waterfall. Many people do not know about the cave, and so they just head back after a swim in the lake.
A word of caution, the water keeps getting deep and shallow in the lake. If you see someone who is apparently standing but is far ahead of you in the lake, do not assume that the water in the middle will be as shallow. The depth keeps changing, so if you do not know swimming, be very careful and do not get too adventurous. Also, it is important to know that the cave is quite far in, and if you do not know how to swim well, it should be avoided.
Make sure you have everything you will need
- Take lots of water and juices
The trek, though only 1 hour long, can get pretty strenuous. In addition to this, it can get quite hot as well. This is why it is better to take a lot of water and juices to keep your energy levels up.
- Take proper footwear!
Make sure you wear proper joggers as the pebbles on the way really hurt your feet. It is even better if you can take some back up slippers to wear in the water, as there are pebbles even there.
- Waterproof bag and camera
At the lake, it is better not to leave valuables behind, as there are normally a lot of tourists and locals there. You will definietly need your camera, or phone to take out pictures on the way, but is it useful to take a waterproof bag along as well so that you can keep your valuables with you, even if you go to the cave.
- Pick up a lifejacket from the entrance if you need it.
For people who do not know how to swim, but want to make the most of the experience and go all the way into the cave, life jackets are available for hire at the very beginning of the trek, in the parking lot. You can simply rent a life jacket from there and you are good to go!
Wadi Shab Hike is one of the cheapest tourist destinations in Oman
The cost is only 1 OMR per person, which is roughly USD 2.6. This cost is also only there because of the boat ride in the beginning. It is ridiculously affordable, and it was one of the highlights of our trip! However, the locals at the beginning may try to quote a higher price, so make sure you bargain!
Get a Guide or Keep ask people around you
If you prefer to do the hike with a guide, there are people readily available who will guide you all the way there and will even take you to the cave. Even though the path is pretty straight forward, there are no proper signboards on the way, so if you prefer having someone who knows his way around, it is better to opt to get a guide. The benefit of getting a guide is that he will keep you informed with random bits of history, so you will get a better feel of the place.
We hope you enjoy your hike!