Previously inaccessible to most in Oman, the Saiq Plateau is today, thanks to the advent of modern roads, visited by those who are curious about the country’s past and seek to explore those areas that are rarely visited by many. In addition to being one of the coldest areas in Oman – minimum temperatures can drop to below four or five degrees at night – the Saiq Plateau is part of the Jabal Akhdar mountain range, and as such, people who wish to go up into the mountains need to travel through here as well. “Previously one of the most inaccessible points in Oman, the Saiq Plateau is an agricultural wonderland, with orchards full of fruit and beautiful views of the surrounding valleys,” adds the Ministry of Tourism. “Perfect for a camping stop, or a stay at one of the luxury hotels on the plateau.”
Traditional Omani village
“Located atop the Saiq Plateau, Diana’s point was named after a visit of the late Princess Diana to the viewpoint in 1986. From here, one can see terraced farms, villages, and some of the mountain’s many fruit orchards,” says Oman’s Ministry of Tourism. “Hewn into the cliff side of Jabal Akhdar, Ar Rus is a traditional Omani village with majlis and homes made from mud brick.”
“Terraced farms and cooler weather greet adventurers atop the Jabal Akhdar range,” added the ministry. “Here, hiking routes are mainly along its beautiful villages, but also through wadis and terrace fields. Local tour operators are happy to assist with guided tours.”
According to Alila Hotels, who have set up a luxury resort up in the mountains of Jabal Akhdar, the Saiq Plateau is “an extensive upland plateau surrounded by craggy summits and steep gorges. Gaze across the spectacular scenery of terraced farms and valleys, and visit the agricultural village of Al Ayn, where you can see how traditional farm life has evolved and observe the 2,000-year-old ‘falaj ’ water system up close.
“During the season of April/May, witness the extraordinary sight of the prized Damask roses in full bloom, their bushes cascading down the mountain slopes. Our leisure concierge will introduce you to the families who continue to make rose water in their distilleries,” added the hotel.
“Visit the picturesque abandoned village of Wadi Bani Habib and marvel at the traditional way of life as you follow the old farm trails through the wadi and farmlands growing walnut trees and pomegranate bushes. A great experience for those who wish to see the best of the region in a compact journey,” they said.