Bilad Sayt walk (Balaad Sayeed)

A nice walk through a gorge to Bilad Sayt .

Updated October 2005

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From Muscat to the beginning of the walk: about 173 km.


How to get to Bliad Sayt. From Muscat take coastal motorway to the north and follow it to the Barka roundabout. Turn left towards the mountains in the direction of Nakhl. Pass Nakhl in the direction of Rustaq. Some 75 km from the roundabout you will see wadi Bani Awf signposted to the left. Follow the track into the mountains in direction of Hat (signposted at junction). The total distance to the beginning of the the walk is some 173 km from Muscat. The gravel track to Bilad Sayt is signposted to the right, but to enjoy the walk through the gorge you should leave this track and continue in the direction of Hat (Haat) and park the car some 3 km from the junction (at 540028 2565172 WGS 84) in a small groove of palm trees opposite the gorge that is hidden behind abandoned terraces. After the walk you may want to explore the road to Bilad Sayt with a magnificent viewpoint over the village, but also over the valley you just left. Take care, the road is just beyond the football field, sharp up and winding.

The drive through wad Banin Awf is very scenic and leads you into the heart of the Oman mountains. The gravel track leads through the wadi bed often with pools and running water left, right and crossing the track.

Refreshing after the long drive from Muscat to stop and sit in the shade of one of the big boulders. Always check those rocks as you will not be the first one to sit there and some old rock carvings showing hunting people and animals could be hiding right at the back

It is still a bit of a drive to the start of the walk to Bilad Sayt

The real climb out of the belly of the mountains starts right after the village of Mannah (N23 12.966 E57 24.236) and leads you up after some spectacular steep hairpins to breathtaking views of the snakegorge below.

The start of this walk is also a nice picnic and rest area in the shade of the trees and with always some water running in de wadi. A steep rockface is at the western side of the road with some old terraces surrounded by crumbling walls in front. There is a path upwards and the best way to get up is by walking into the corner and slightly heading to the right. A number of steps will become visible behind some very large boulders. The stairs climb up along the steep rock wall with a small falaj cut into it. The track leads sideways along a dripping green rockface into the gorge. Be careful as the path is narrow and could be slippery when wet. In the gorge the track opens up and is easy going. 

For Geologist: the massive limestones are part of the PreCambrian Buah (Kharus) Formation.

A few hundred metres from the start the gorge forks. Follow the right side, which will lead you very rapidly out into the open again surprisingly at the edge of the green fields below the village of Bilad Sayt.

 

 

Follow the path leading into the village. There will be many curious, but very friendly faces looking.on you turn left, back to the car.

 

The well paved path will lead you to the palm groves behind the village and right there is a path to the left into the terraced gardens, between the stone walls and falaj systems.

 

If you follow the path more or less at the same level you will get to a concrete falaj crossing a wadi. Follow the falaj across and left at the other side of the wadi.
A walk more in the open with beautiful views of the village perched on the rocks to the left.

 

The walk following the falaj takes you to a wadi where you turn right again following the wadi downslope and a few hundred meters further into a narrow gorge again. The gorge joins the same that you came up in and at the junction turn right to return to the place where you left the car.
Always in the shade and sometimes with a bit of water trickling through this is a very relaxing way to explore this beautiful area.
To have another view, go back along road and just after football field turn sharp left and follow winding road to a nice viewpoint above the village.

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@ J. Schreurs January 2005, October 2005