Wadi Suwayh walk

May 2005

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A wet walk & swim through a bit of beautiful scenery of an almost forgotten wadi.

Distance Muscat - Suwayh (start of walk) is 121km (one way). Coordinates listed below are UTM WGS 84


How to get there: To get there from Muscat, drive from Wadi Hatat roundabout to Quriyat, 80km away. At Quriyat roundabout, turn right in the direction of Daghmar. About 7km down this road, a signpost points you to right to Wadi Dayqah (40 Q 694391 2570812). Proceed along this bumpy trail which weaves in and out of the wadi and through rugged terrain for about 8km. Turn right at this point for Wadi al Arbiyeen (40 Q 699901 2557702) and stay on this road ignoring signs to Al Ya’al, Fiq, and Sulayfi. You will pass through the beautiful village of Hail al Quasim (40 Q 703098 2549877 with nice watch tower above deep wadi) follow the road leaving village to left and about 2km further is the end of the track: the village of Suwayh (40 Q 704058 2548502). Best perhaps to park car at right side of road leaving the road free for the villagers.

The full walk to the end of the wadi below the village of Suwayh is about 4 hours one-way. If you want to do this and return before sunset you should plan to leave in the early morning from Muscat. It takes about two hours to get to village of Suwayh, the start point of the walk. Leaving at 6 hours means you can start by 8 hrs and be back at the car around 16:00-17:00 hrs, in time to drive back to Muscat before sunset. Going to the end of the wadi means you have to either climb the two waterfalls on your way upstream or climb around them. Ropes are hanging down from the rocks, but do not trust these. The safer option is to climb out of the wadi sideways, which is strongly recommended if you are not a rock climber and do not have the right gear. If you want to get to Sawqah you have to climb out of the wadi either at the end or before the 2nd waterfall (ropes dangling from rights side of wadi).

What do you need: A set of dry clothes to leave in the car for after the walk. Dry shoes. The walk involves a lot of swimming and sliding over rocks. Well worn light clothing is advised. Because of the climbing involved you need good shoes. Trainers are fine. Everything gets wet and therefore either pack things waterproof or leave electronics and other stuff in the car. Your backpack gets submerged and therefore an open type is recommendable. A watertight pack can make a good floating device. Take enough water to drink. The full walk for fit people takes about four hours to the end of the wadi and 4 hours back. Most of the wadi is relatively open and you will have the sun baking your head. Take sun cream and a hat for protection. Food in a watertight container or bag.

Health warning: there are plenty of snakes in the wadi. We noticed they like lying on rock ledges just above the water. Watch where you go and never place your hands where you can't see them.

Keep an eye on the sky. Do not undertake this walk if there are any signs of rain. A wadi in flash flood after rain does flood suddenly and can kill.

Dress code: the start of the walk is through the village of Suwayh. It may be tempting to dress for bathing but please remember that local customs require decent clothing. Take some light trousers and shirt covering your swimwear that can be easily packed in your backpack and can get wet.


A gorgeous wadi walk, swimming, crawling and walking

The walk starts at the endpoint of the gravel track near the village of Suwayh. The best parking place is to the right of the road, before crossing the wadi to the village.

Walk through the village (decent clothing!) and find the falaj either left or right side of the wadi beyond the village. The left falaj is easier to walk even tough the right one looks better (we tried). Follow the falaj to its end and that's where the walk really starts. Further explanations are not needed as the wadi leaves little choice but to follow it. The full walk takes about 4 hrs to the end of the wadi (for a fit person). At about 1/3 and 2/3 of the distance are substantial drops (walking upstream it is better to call them cliffs) in the wadi bed. Climbing these needs special gear and climbing skills. The first one can be skirted at the left side, but needs a bit of searching as there is only one unclear track up. The second one is easier to skirt, but you have to leave the wadi bed when it narrows (where a thinly layered rock sequence crops out at the left side) else you will find yourself at a dead end at the bottom of a high drop (see pictures below).


Approaching Suwayh village with wadi Suwayh beyond..
The walk is lovely. Keep an eye on pieces of an ancient ruined falaj system at the left side. Judging from the rock falls that have covered and the few remains this must be a very old channel indeed.

The full walk will take you at least one day from early morining. A more relaxed walk will take you as far as you want to go and back again.

Climbing and splashing

Once in a while the water flow steps down ledges with travertine rims, draped with plants. The place where snakes like to rest, keep an eye on these crawlers.

The second waterfall from above (left side). Some ropes are dangling down, but do not trust these as they may have been hanging there for long times.If you don't know how to climb and have no gear this would be a dead end unless you go back and climb out of the wadi to skirt the gorge from the left side.

 

Gorge leading to the second waterfall.
Girls of the village of Suhayh taking the goats out in the afternoon; a colourful sight.

References:

Oman Today, WADI SUWAYH AND ABOVE WADI DAYKAH, 2003, volume 4. Apex Press and Publishing, Muscat Oman

Thanks to Kester Harris for introducing us to the real wadi behind the village.

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@ J. Schreurs May 2005