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Oman's Jabal Shams: An all-year tourist destination
April 5, 2016 | 7:52 PM
by Times News Service
 
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Muscat: There are many reasons that makes Jabal Shams a distinct tourist destination for people, not just from Oman, but also from other neighbouring countries in the region.

A cool summer weather, breathtaking peaks, the spectacular view of the deep wadis (valleys) and the curvaceous road uphill that test the nerve of the driver—Jabal Shams offer adventurous souls the perfect getaway into the hills to trek and enjoy the splendid beauty on foot. The region is also blessed with nature’s bounty and is home to several indigenous plants and trees, thus attracting the attention of nature lovers as well.

Located in Wilayat Al Hamra, Al Dhakilya region, Jabal Shams is the highest peak in Oman and is located at about 3000 feet above the sea level and is a part of the Al Hajar Mountains range.

As an initiative to increase the influx of tourists in the region and showcase Jabal Shams as the ideal destination for adventure and challenge seekers, the Ministry of Tourism organised a trekking event recently in collaboration with Hussak Adventure Team from Al Hajar Adventures and Tourism.



The ‘Jabal Shams Trekking Challenge,’ as it was called, brought together 200 participants from different age groups and nationalities to take up the challenge of trekking to the mountain’s peak. The perfect weather made the 10-kilometre long trek enjoyable for the participants, many of whom were visiting Oman for the first time. The winner received a cash prize of $3000. The Ministry also worked closely with local institutions in the area, who provided logistics support for the event.

The trip to Jabal Shams starts with a route established by the Ministry of Tourism, which overlooks the scattered villages and farms underneath. The Ministry has undertaken the maintenance of over 12 routes in Al Hajar mountain range as part of its effort to promote adventure tourism in the country.



What also makes Jabal Shams so popular is its climatic conditions. In winter, the mountain is covered with a beautiful veil of snow making it a great place to enjoy the chillness. In summer, it continues to be pleasant through and cooler in the evening, given its distance from the sea level. This is ideal for an outing with friends and family throughout the year.

Places to Visit

Life in the summit is something else. While being there, you can enjoy camping, and watching the sunrise and sunset. You can also visit the historical village of “Goul,” which is entirely built with rocks and mud, uniquely sitting on the edge of Jabal Shams, overlooking vast areas of farms. The village is called “Oman’s Grand Canyon” due to the fact that it overlooks a towering canyon called “Shurfat Al Nakhr.” There are camping centres, an observatory, and places for hiking and balcony walks.

Quick facts

Do you know that Jabal Shams is the highest mountain peak in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council)?

Do you know that the temperature in winter reaches -10 degrees?

Do you know that Jabal Shams consists of almost 30 small villages?

Do you know that most of Jabal Shams’ population is made up mostly of farmers?

Itinerary

8:00am: Start the climb upto Jabal Shams

11:00am: Visit the Goul historical village

1:00pm: Sightseeing at Shurfat Al Nakhr

3:00pm: Hiking and Balcony walk

6:27pm: Watch the sunset

8:00pm: Camping and watching the stars

How to reach

Jabal Shams: Requires a four wheel drive. Take the Nizwa road from the Al Sahwa roundabout, then take the road to Wilayat Al Hamra and from there turn left to Wadi Al Goul where you will see the mountain route. There are signs that will guide you all along the way.

Hiking and Balcony walk: These are on the way up to the mountain with signs to show you the routes and their purposes.

Shurfat Al Nakhr canyon: While taking the route to the peak, you will find the canyon few miles before reaching the peak. The view of the canyon from the peak is spectacular.

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