WADI BANI AWF AND THE CROSSING OF THE HAJAR
Petit Futé's opinion on WADI BANI AWF AND THE CROSSING OF THE HAJAR
It is probably the most interesting wadi in the region and the most borrowed, especially since a road was built in its extension to cross the Western Hajar and descend from the side of Nizwa (which is ideal during a circuit discovery of the interior of the land). Its entrance is indicated on the left of the main road, about 3 km after the village of Awabi. Very quickly, the track, which is kilometres long, is lined with corn plantations and palm-calf palms, as well as cemeteries (simple edges of flat rocks erected in squares of rocks) and especially more or less scattered houses, fuelled with water and electricity, despite their isolation (a way of promoting the sedentary)… It sinue along the river bed, sometimes bordered by falajs, between very steep walls, before climbing in the mountains overlooking the valley and along some beautiful precipices. A 4 x 4 is of course necessary, especially since some passages are steep and narrow (place for only one car). But directions are well indicated by panels and leads to charming hamlets, usually adorned with terraces.
After kilometres, we arrive at a branch line: on the right, the village of Bilad Sayt, left of Hat. To cross the Hajar, follow the road from Hat. It would be a shame, however, to go into the corner without taking a detour by the wonderful hamlet of Bilad Sayt, 1 km away: from the entrance of the gorge, we join it in minutes. Built in height, Bilad Sayt dominates its cultures and palm grove and offers an incredible palette of colours. From this village there is a signposted trail towards Misfah. It's a two-day walk, with climbing up to the Hajar plateau in four hours and, the next day, going to you it on Misfah in six hours. The less courageous will return to their footsteps and take the road from Hat.
250 metres after the fork opens on the left, the entrance of the Serpent Canyon (Snake Canyon), which has been taken up by local impulses, some of which organise days of climbing and canyoning. Never venture alone in these gorges which require the first 500 metres a reminder. Go 500 metres further, on the right, where small gorges, accessible to everyone, offer beautiful walls. A staircase runs along the rock to enter the heart of these "Serpent gorges" equipped with climbing paths (the same entrance of gorge leads to the village of Bilad Sayt on foot).
The road then climbs to a plateau that offers good camping possibilities, provided that it is well equipped because the evenings are fresh. We leave the Batinah Region for that of Al-Dakhiliyah. The decor changes, the color of the stone clouds… We arrive near the village of Al-Hamra, 35 km after Hat. There are several possibilities for routes: go to Nizwa, go to the discovery of the Jebel Shams, return to Muscat…
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