Having lived, worked and explored Oman for a number of years, Snake Gorge is a wonderful excursion, probably one of the best and most enjoyable hikes/walks that a small group of friends can do in a day out from Muscat.
Over the years, I certainly have been very fortunate to have been on some fantastic treks into and over the Hajar mountains and the Snake Gorge experience rates right up there with the best of the hikes that Iíve been privileged enough to have enjoyed and experienced with friends.
However, Snake Gorge (Wadi Bani Awf) also serves as a good reminder to those of us who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle and adventure, that nature and in particular the weather is all too unpredictable here in Oman.
Especially in the mountains and interior where things can change all too quickly and unless one is prepared and aware of the potential hazards then things can and will, all too quickly escalate out of control.
I know I was there that day in July 1996, when tragically 9 people lost their lives in a flash flood in Snake Gorge. The memories have stayed with me and will stay with me, especially as two members of our group tragically lost their lives that day.
Within the group as in any group we were all friends, all out for days enjoyment and we were certainly not reckless, naÔve or foolhardy in that there were a number of us within the group that were from military backgrounds, whilst others were worldly experienced having worked and experienced working in remote and uncompromising environments. But none of us, nor for that matter any of those in the other 4 groups which happened to be in the canyon at the time anticipated the speed how the situation could so quickly and so dramatically change.
Iíll never forget the sight of friends being washed away by the torrential rains, then later having to identify bodies further down the Wadi. Nor will I ever say to anyone not to get out there and enjoy the wonderful adventures that Oman has to offer, but what I would say is be careful and please don not under any circumstances ever be complacent.
Enjoy, but be prepared and take the necessary precautions and advice just as we did that day in July 1996, but sadly two of my friends did not return from what was intended to be day of enjoyment and fun.
It has been difficult to come to terms with exactly what happened that day, but by passing on some knowledge and experience to those of you wanting to explore Oman, hopefully it will in someway go towards helping me and the other people who survived, in coming to terms with the tragic events that happened on that day in July 1996.
Get out there and enjoy the adventures that Oman has to offer, but please treat the environment with respect and with caution,