Exploring Oman’s Grand Canyon

Saturday, 12 February 2005

From the dirt poor little village of Al Khateem we’d descended into Wadi Ghul and followed a trail inside the canyon wall. The wadi has been described as Oman’s ‘Grand Canyon’ and the 1000-metre drop, sometimes little more than an arm-span from the edge of our trail, certainly justified the description. Far below we could see a small village at the bottom of the canyon and tiny green fields confirmed there must be some water down there. Our walk led to Sap Bani Khamis, a deserted village with a series of terraced fields clinging desperately to the canyon wall.

Nizwa's main Mosque from the fortBack in Nizwa we feasted on an assortment of shwarmas at a streetside open air restaurant looking directly across to the town’s picturesque market buildings and beautifully spot-lit fort. For all its reputation as a bastion of conservatism Nizwa had become our favourite Omani town – busy, energetic and with a great souq, even if it was clearly aimed at the tourist trade.