Saturday, January 21, 2012

Exploring Wadi Bani Khalid (Mukhal Cave and Water Pools)

The beauty of Wadi Bani Khalid
November 27, 2011 - This was actually my second visit to Wadi Bani Khalid. The first was in January 2009 and so it’s two years past the last time I stepped to this hidden oasis of Oman - called the Mukal Cave and Water Pools. I’m excited to get back to the place and now with my family.

Road Sign that welcomes you to the Wilayat of Wadi Bani Khalid
Getting to Wadi Bani Khalid was an enjoyable ride as the road went up and up and down and down.

The road towards the wilayata of wadi bani khalid

The zigzag road in going up to the mountain
We were actually crossing the highest mountains which enclave the area.
Magnificent Rock mountains
 A beautiful scenery indeed. Here you can see the mountains with different colors and shapes of rocks and cliffs.
A different kind of rock montain
Extraordinary mountain
But when we finally arrived, a number of vehicles were parking in the narrow area of the riverbank entrance. Since we find difficulty, we just park our cars further and took a hike in reaching the pools.

locals and tourists in the wadi
However, a packed of people (locals and tourists) were settling in the wide area of the wadi making the area crowded and noisy. This place has became famous and an ideal tourist attractions since it was published in local and international travel guide books and magazines. We put up our plastic mat near the riverbank and took our meals while busy witnessing at other people activities.
with my little anyah near the riverbank
After sometime, Jesse and Andrei along with Catherine and Gerry decided to go beyond the rocky cliffs and get to the interior of the wadi and find a nice spot for swimming. While Melo, Enrico, Anyah and me were left behind and stayed at the concrete shelter/ gazibo situated on top of the biggest boulders.
Jesse and Andrei at the waterfall
Jesse and Andrei were really enjoying as they swam and walked upstream through shallow pools and over slippery rocks. At the end, a small crack in big rocks appeared a small waterfall that was just wide enough to sit in between the crevice. They have found the great spot for a private dip.

Well, I remember the last time I came here in 2009. Luckily, we were the only few people in the site.

our gang visited Wadi Bani Khalid in 2009
We were the only few who were in the place
As you get closer to the riverbank, the wonderful and spectacular landscape of the oasis came into glimpse.
The riverbank
There you can see the gorgeous oasis with turquoise blue pools of fresh water in the middle of barren and dry mountains.
A wonderful sight of the wadi
The water is still clear, refreshing, and very inviting to take a plunge and swim.
The clear water
That same water was also used in the nearby plantation using the falaj or irrigation channels that were common in Oman.
The source of irrigation in the nearby plantation

the falaj - water channels
This once empty Gazibos were now converted into local concession and refreshment area.
The Gazibo before was empty
i love the design of this sheltered area
This shabby little thatch-top umbrella thingy has now developed into a concrete mini-gazibo.

A mini-shelter
There were no changing rooms and it’s fairly cold so we didn’t bother to swim.
We just explore the place and went hiking beyond the cliffs and scrambling up the rocky terrain.
Ready for hiking
Then took a little rest at the top of the cliff.

at the top of cliff
The view of the whole wadi at this perspective was really fantastic and amazing!

the amazing scene
I asked my friend to take some photos of the beautiful and emerald pools behind me.
The pools behind me
Likewise, the whole oasis too.

can't help but took pictures of the wadi behind me
After several minutes of hiking, we felt the fresh air from the canyon and saw the magnificent boulder structures of huge mountains.
The huge mountains
I stopped for a while and have picture taking with some of my friends.
with my good friends Catherine (yellow shirt) and Liway (with red sellah)
Then, we climbed up to the mouth of the cave. There’s a concrete and well-painted staircase provided for an easy ascend.
a concrete staircase that led you the cave's opening
Along with the team, we all managde to get into the initial opening of the cave. It was very dark and we really need flashlights.
we were inside the cave
the other team
We only used our camera flash to see our way. There were locals who also guide us inside.
we used the camera flash to light our way
it was difficult to get inside the cave without proper gear

However, the tunnel gets too tight to go on in the dark, and so we returned back.
getting into the deepest part and cramped tunnel of the cave

in the cave tunnels
The hiking experience gave us a deep feeling of satisfaction as we were able to explore the inner part of Wadi Bani Khalid.
our group with the local guides in Jan. 2009
Just like before, we left the place when the sun came down and was about to disappear in the horizon. We took some memory shots before we returned to our car further down the wadi.
this time with my family in Nov. 2011
Taking photos was actually a good way to wrap up and cherish our great adventure experience of Wadi Bani Khalid.

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