One of the most popular wadis in Oman, Wadi Bani Khalid is a sure delight for day-long revelry for people of all ages and all cultures, all year round. If you are in Muscat on a lightning visit for just a couple of days, after undertaking a city tour, Wadi Bani Khalid should be your next stop.
Located just about three hours from Muscat and two hours from Sur, this winding wadi is blessed with clear, cool pools throughout the year and is considered a ‘magical oasis’ for those seeking adventure in the interior of Oman. And the fact that it is not very far from the capital makes it a hotspot on weekends and public holidays.
Wadi Bani Khalid is said to be one of the first wadis that developed into a tourist hangout over the years since it is easily accessible, has plenty of water in pools that provide thrills and adventure to families as well as others seeking a day-long picnic of sorts.
The hallmark of Al Sharqiyah North region, this wadi passes through a stretch that has a few villages on the way. It is located near the main road that connects the capital Muscat to the city of Sur. The distance is roughly 255km from Muscat and 120km from Sur. Hence, one can either drive there in a private vehicle, join a tour group or hire a taxicab on your own.
There is a winding road that passes through mountains and villages until you get to the parking area for Wadi Bani Khalid. The slow drive from the end of the highway through the villages to the main location takes about 40 minutes. Parking is available free at this site. However, the place tends to get crowded on weekends, so one has to land up early in order to get a good parking spot on a Friday or Saturday.
Lower and upper pools
Around five minutes away from the parking area, you will find the first largest pool of Wadi Bani Khalid. Most visitors, especially families, restrict their revelry in this spot, hence it appears crowded on weekends and public holidays. The large pool, however, is just the beginning of all the fun.
As you go further downstream, the upper pools and canyons make the visit to this spot even more enchanting. Signs have been provided to guide visitors from the main lower pool to the upper pools which appear after around a 10-minute walk.
Make sure to carry whatever you need, from water and food/snacks to towels and a change of clothes. Also, the water in the pools have their shallow and deep ends, which are clearly marked, so make sure to stay away from the deep ends if you are not a swimmer. In view of the current pandemic, it is a good idea to carry along adequate number of face-masks and sanitisers as well as maintain safe social distance from strangers in the pools as well as in the vicinity.
Restaurant and restrooms
Wadi Bani Khalid has an on-site restaurant where snacks, mini meals and juices are available all day. Toilets and washrooms are also available at this location for those wishing to refresh themselves. Most people also use this area to change into dry clothes after enjoying their time in the pools.
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