Located 200 km from Muscat and just 50 km from Bidiya – Wahiba Sands dunes ( where the desert campgrounds are located ), it’s one of the most picturesque and accessible wadi of the whole Oman. We visited the Wadi Bani Khalid after a night in the desert spending there a relaxing half day swimming in its crystal waterpools and sunbathing. The canyon is impressive, with its steep walls and abundant water that form natural pools with a fantastic and smooth green-emerald colors water perfect for a swim.
Main Pools : Once reached the parking lot, just walking for 10 minutes, you’ll get to the main pools. Surrounded by palm trees, these quite huge pools will amaze you with their incredibile emerald-colors water. This area has been developed with a restaurant, a small linking bridge, seating areas so it’s the most crowded above all during the weekend when locals come here to spend a relaxing day in the middle of the nature. If you decide to stop here and have a swim, remember to respect the local culture by wearing appropriate clothes ( there are also different signs remembering you how to dress ). Women should wear a t-shirt and shorts avoiding bikinis, men should wear a t-shirt and shorts. Talking with some local guides I met there, I had been told you don’t need to dress in that way if you continue your visit along the wadi visiting the upper pools.
Upper pools: if you want to completely enjoy the Wadi, instead of crossing the small bridge that leads to the restaurant, you should go on for a bit along the rock path that penetrates between the narrow gorges: step by step the stream becomes very narrow and form breathtaking natural pools with an amazing colors that contrast with the impressive rock walls and from where you can dive off ( even the pools are quite deep remember always to check in advance its depth ). At the end of the path, passing by some very small waterfalls, you’ll also find the Muqal cave ( just 20 min walk from the restaurant ).
Visited in january 2019
Where to eat: the restaurant overlooking the main pools offers coffee, soft drinks and a lunch buffet ( 4 OMR ). The other option is to buy food in advance in a supermarket before getting there and having a relaxing pic-nic under a palm tree facing the emerald water pools.
Where to sleep: we explored the Wadi after a night in Wahiba Sands Dunes at the Desert Wonder camp. Leaving the Wadi we headed to Ras al Hadd. Another option, in case you decide to stay closer ( just 35 km ), on the road 23 next to the small town of Romail, you’ll find the Oriental Nights Rest House ( it is next to the junction that leads to the wadi, right after a petrol station ).
Location: you’ll find the wadi texting on google map ‘’Wadi Bani Khalid parking area’’ ( gps 22.615791, 59.093883 ). The Wadi is 50 km from Wahiba Sands- Bidiya ( 1.15 hrs drive ), 130 km from Sur (2 hrs drive ), 240 km from Muscat ( 3 hrs drive ). The road is all tarred and only the last 15 km are uphill curves. Anyways follow the brown road signs to ” Wadi bani Khalid”.
When to go: the best season to visit Oman is November to March to avoid the strong heat of the summer. At the end of January the temperature was around 27 degree. Try to visit the wadi during the week because on the weekend ( Friday – Satursday ) is always busy and packed since a lot of local families get there for relaxing and having a picnic.