Name me cynical however after I hear someplace described as a ‘must-visit’ I instantly decrease my expectations. That is what I did earlier than our go to to Wadi Shab – some of the in style wadi day journeys from Muscat in Oman.
Wadi Shab has been talked about to us numerous occasions since we moved to Oman. So I used to be intrigued, particularly after getting extra of a wadi expertise than we bargained for at neighbouring Wadi Tiwi in January.
However I used to be additionally able to be disillusioned after visiting the equally lauded however very industrial Wadi Bani Khalid a couple of weeks earlier than.
So, was it a waste of time? Did we chunk off greater than we might chew visiting with youngsters? Or did we now have a superb time?
On this submit I’m going to share our expertise of visiting Wadi Shab with our youngsters together with some ideas for doing it your self.
*This submit accommodates affiliate hyperlinks*
Why go to Wadi Shab?
Wadi Shab is a straightforward day journey from Muscat – about one and a half hours from town centre by street – and has been arrange for vacationers, albeit in a really gentle contact manner.
Don’t count on a lot of security measures or flashy amenities, however do come able to expertise Oman’s extraordinary pure magnificence.
Your go to will embrace a ship journey throughout the wadi entrance, skyscraper gorge partitions, a enjoyable hike, lengthy clear swimming pools and a cave you’ll be able to swim inside to discover a hidden waterfall.
We spent three hours exploring and all agreed that it was time effectively spent.
Right here’s our information to visiting Wadi Shab with kids together with some ideas for doing it your self.
Greatest time to go to Wadi Shab
We visited the wadi on a Saturday in March – a doubtlessly busy time in the course of the winter season when a lot of individuals vacation in Oman.
So we determined to rise up early, and get to the wadi earlier than the frenzy and the warmth of noon.
Once we arrived at 8.30am there have been only a handful of different automobiles within the automotive park beneath Freeway 17. The ferry solely begins working from 8am so there’s not a lot level in arriving sooner than this.
By the point we returned three hours later the automotive park was full, and automobiles and coaches have been parked alongside the street.
Individuals have been nonetheless arriving and we handed tons coming in to the wadi as we left.
The variety of individuals later within the morning made the hike rather less nice on a number of the narrower sections with a protracted drop.
I don’t consider it might be potential to keep away from the 2 manner mountaineering visitors till after 2pm on a weekend. So we have been glad we arrived firstly of the day to glide in not less than one route.
If you happen to do resolve to go to afterward remember that the wadi will not be accessible after late afternoon (see ferry occasions under). 2pm might be the most recent you need to arrive, notably when you intend to swim within the swimming pools on the finish and go to the cave.
The optimum days to go to are from Sunday to Thursday when there might be fewer locals, like us.
Ferry boat at Wadi Shab
That is the one wadi in Oman the place we now have needed to take a ferry to discover. On the day we visited there have been two small motorboats working from the automotive park.
They take you on a brief crossing, beneath the viaduct to the place the wadi path begins on the opposite facet.
The price of a return journey is 1 OMR per individual, however we have been charged 500 baisa (half a rial) for the kids. You pay this upfront in money.
The ferries run day by day from 8am, so that is the earliest you’ll be able to go to Wadi Shab.
The final ferry runs between 5pm and 6pm relying on the season. If you’re visiting within the afternoon examine when the ferry stops as you may be stranded with out it.
The hike into Wadi Shab
About quarter-hour into the stroll the trail turns from mud and shingle into rock. Be very cautious on the slippery rocks which have been polished by 1000’s of pairs of toes.
The trail has been improved for guests with most cracks within the rock cemented over however you continue to want to observe your step, particularly because the route begins to rise alongside the facet of the wadi.
There’s no hand rail between you and a few large drops. If you’re visiting with younger kids you have to to carry their palms so you already know the place they’re always.
It’s at this level that you just see the primary part of turquoise water under. It’d look inviting however this half isn’t for swimming. There’s no simple strategy to enter and exit it – one more reason to maintain maintain of little ones.
About 30 minutes into the wadi you rejoin the valley ground. That is the place the trail turns into much less apparent. You are able to do a little bit of bouldering or search out the better path to the left, which runs alongside the Aflaj.
Nonetheless, there’s no likelihood of getting misplaced. Simply maintain following the valley ground.
It took us about an hour to succeed in the principle wadi swimming pools. At this level it’s important to swim to progress additional.
Swimming at Wadi Shab
You’ll must excuse the standard of my footage throughout our swim at Wadi Shab. They’re all taken by a water-resistant cellphone case (important tools for this wadi).
However I believed they have been value together with to offer you an thought of the problem forward of you.
you’ve reached the swimming space if you spot a ‘welcome’ signal that appears prefer it has seen significantly better days. It explains that you just can not stroll from this level and it’s important to be an excellent swimmer to succeed in the cave on the finish.
Having visited a couple of wadis now (and kicked ourselves for not being fairly as ready as we would have liked to be once we went to neighbouring Wadi Tiwi) we have been ready with waterproof luggage and buoyancy aids for the youngsters.
My women have each come on leaps and bounds with their swimming since we moved to Oman however if you find yourself doing this sort of outside journey additional precautions by no means damage.
There’s loads of house within the space across the first pool to go away any belongings you don’t need to take with you.
Please bear in mind to select them up, together with any empty water bottles and meals packaging, if you depart. Littering is unfortunately a giant downside in magnificence spots like this.
The swim from the primary pool to the place you enter to the Wadi Shab cave is a couple of hundred meters. There are sections the place you’ll be able to wade by the water, the place the water flows ankle deep over shingle and elements the place the underside is nowhere in sight.
Check out my Wadi Shab Reel on Instagram that shares video from the swim.
It’s additionally value mentioning that there’s slippery algae on the rocks. Take it slowly out and in of the water.
Simply earlier than the ultimate pool you have to to climb up over a small waterfall have been it might be potential to harm yourselves if not approached fastidiously.
This part was notably slippery on the return journey when it was moist from the elevated variety of guests arriving after us.
See my record of what to put on under for ideas on footwear.
The Wadi Shab cave
If you happen to make it to the tip of the final deep pool you’ll be able to expertise Wadi Shab’s hidden cave. Be warned, this isn’t advisable when you expertise claustrophobia.
The cave entrance solely turns into clear as you strategy as a result of it’s principally underwater. There’s only a slim opening above the waterline that isn’t a lot larger than your head in some locations.
You received’t have the ability to contact the underside as you enter the cave or inside it. As we felt under the water line the partitions disappeared outwards and it grew to become clear that we have been floating on the prime of an enormous cavern.
There have been about 12 different individuals within the cave once we arrived, all taking it in turns to climb ropes up the principally dry waterfall to leap again into the water.
Mr Tin Field couldn’t resist a go and one of many native guides helped our two women as much as bounce from a decrease ledge.
To the correct of the waterfall you could find a slim channel that has been eaten into the rock across the again.
Making it to the cave was an actual spotlight for us. We’d advocate giving it a go however you’ll want to come ready with the correct clothes and tools.
What to put on at Wadi Shab
We’d advocate arriving at Wadi Shab sporting swimming costumes beneath your garments as there’s nowhere to alter if you attain the swimming pools.
You might additionally slip in your swimwear within the public bogs within the automotive park when you don’t need to put on them in the course of the drive to Wadi Shab.
Right here’s the opposite issues to put on throughout your go to:
Conservative outside clothes
Oman is a Muslim nation the place dressing conservatively is a authorized requirement. Usually it’s best to put on garments that cowl higher arms and knees.
A brief sleeve t-shirt and cropped exercise leggings for girls and a t-shirt and lengthy shorts for males is completely acceptable for the mountaineering part of Wadi Shab.
When it got here to the swim we wore rash vests with quick sleeves* and swim shorts*. These may be worn beneath different clothes and likewise assist to guard towards the solar.
We at all times put on strolling sandals that we will use in water once we go to wadis. This protects carrying additional water footwear which are important for stoney and slippery sections.
The ladies and I all have KEEN footwear, which have grippy soles for strolling and have been out and in of the water extra occasions than I can rely.
The youngsters at present have KEEN Unisex Child’s Verano Open Toe Sandals* and I’ve had a pair of KEEN path footwear for about 4 years now. They’ve been discontinued however are nonetheless going sturdy.
Right here’s one other KEEN outside sandal* that I do know would work effectively as the ladies have had smaller variations up to now. The youngsters at all times develop out of KEEN footwear earlier than they put on them out, so we regularly cross them on.
Buoyancy aids for teenagers
They’re not only for youngsters. All the guests on the organised excursions that we noticed have been sporting buoyancy aids.
We determined to place our women of their buoyancy aids regardless of them being pretty sturdy swimmers and I’m certain the tour guides have been utilizing the identical logic. Accidents can occur rapidly, notably slip ups. So when you fall it’s significantly better that you just float.
Your well being and security is your personal duty whichever wadi you go to.
We introduced one of many youngsters’ buoyancy aids with us from the UK and acquired one other at Decathlon within the Mall of Oman the place additionally they promote grownup buoyancy aids.
Mr Tin Field and I’ve Restubes* for paddle boarding however we didn’t use them on the wadi.
Different issues to take to Wadi Shab
After visiting a number of wadis in Oman we’ve put collectively a listing of prompt issues to take alongside.
We’ve kicked ourselves a couple of occasions for forgetting apparent issues and objects that make the expertise a lot simpler. However I feel we’ve now received the definitive record.
If you happen to don’t have already got a few of these important objects we’ve discovered the next outlets good for outside gear:
- The Sultan Centre, varied areas in Muscat
- Decathlon within the Mall of Oman
- Solar and Sand Sport in Avenues Mall, the Mall of Oman and Metropolis Centre Mall. There’s additionally an outlet store in Markaz Al Bahja.
I’ve additionally included hyperlinks under the place you’ll be able to order these items on-line when you’re capable of plan far sufficient forward.
Listed below are some wadi staples to convey with you:
We now have a rucksack that’s additionally a dry bag. We picked this up at a Sultan Centre store in Muscat and we take it with us in all places now.
It’s simple to hold and sufficiently big for a lightweight towel, some snacks and water, goggles for the youngsters, and a primary support equipment. It additionally doubles as a helpful flotation machine.
At Wadi Shab it meant that we didn’t want to go away any belongings on the first pool.
You possibly can purchase it on-line*.
If you happen to neglect a dry bag sufficiently big simply on your cellphone or pockets you can too purchase these on the wadi automotive park.
Convey a microfibre towel*. It’s a good suggestion to dry off a bit if you depart the swimming pools so you’re much less more likely to slip on the rocky path again to the wadi entrance.
You want one thing small that received’t retain a lot of water and develop into heavy in your return stroll.
There’s a lot of shade to be discovered within the wadi however not on a regular basis so defend your eyes with good sun shades.
For precisely the identical causes as you want sun shades, put on issue 50 solar cream in your face and physique. Even within the shade you’ll be choosing up rays.
I’m not a fan of placing my face within the water deliberately however my youngsters find it irresistible. Goggles enable them a special perspective on wadis so we at all times convey theirs.
Change of garments
In case you get your mountaineering garments moist or soiled depart a spare set in your automotive.
Snacks and water
The place would us mother and father be with out snacks for the youngsters?! Our go to snacks for mountaineering journeys are apples and small packets of biscuits, which we will simply slip into our rucksack.
We regularly pack a picnic too because it means we will get meals into the youngsters quick once we get again to the automotive. A cool field and ice blocks are helpful for protecting meals contemporary in a sizzling car.
You’re going to want lots of water, however received’t essentially need to carry all of it with you.
Ensure that everybody has a small bottle of water for the hike and depart some chilling in your car.
I don’t go anyplace in Oman with out a packet tissues. You by no means know if public bathrooms can have any, particularly in additional rural areas the place squat bogs and bum weapons (hoses by the john) are the norm.
First support equipment
One thing else we not often journey with out is our small first support equipment. This has plasters, together with Compeeds, bug chunk cream and Panadol (paracetamol). That is what we supply with us.
We now have one other first support equipment* together with bandages in our automotive.
Amenities on the wadi
There’s a protracted tarmac automotive park and parking is free.
Bear in mind that the automotive park is a hang around for goats who’re very ahead, notably in the event that they suppose they’ll sniff out a snack. They may put their heads in luggage and their our bodies in your automotive when you don’t regulate them.
On the finish of the automotive park there’s a restaurant with showers (you’ll pay a price to make use of these). We didn’t cease on the cafe as we suspected it is likely to be costly. However in case you are quick on snacks or water it might show very helpful.
There’s free bogs in direction of the automotive park entrance. These have western model loos in addition to a squat bogs. Convey your personal rest room tissue. You may also change right here.
The place is Wadi Shab?
Whether or not you’re coming from Muscat or Sur it’s very simple to search out Wadi Shab. It’s signal posted off Freeway 17 one hour 45 minutes (170km) south from Muscat Worldwide Airport and 40 minutes north (50km) from Sur.
Search for indicators for indicators saying ‘Al Shab’.
The pin on this map is the general public bogs on the entrance to the Wadi Shab automotive park.
The place to remain at Wadi Shab
We visited from the place we stay in Muscat however in case you are vacation or an Oman street journey there are a couple of choices for locations to remain close to Wadi Shab.
Wadi Ashab Chalets – adults solely
This sea entrance visitor home with non-public rooms and shared lounge is the closest lodging to Wadi Shab – you’ll be able to stroll to the ferry in 5 minutes.
That is an adults solely visitor home however does supply rooms for as much as 5 individuals.
Test availability at Wadi Ashab Chalets*.
Wadi Shab Visitor Home – family-friendly
This Omani-style villa lodging is 1km from the wadi entrance, so an easy drive to succeed in the wadi for when the ferry begins working.
It solely provides double and twin rooms so in case you are travelling with kids you’ll have to e book two rooms as they don’t supply additional beds. Nonetheless, it will get nice opinions, has a swimming pool and is true on the seashore.
Test availability at Wadi Shab Visitor Home*.
Tiwi Dawn – household rooms
This lodge is positioned close to the doorway to Wadi Tiwi and is a six minute drive from Wadi Shab.
It solely has double rooms however you’ll be able to request additional beds for kids. These are free for kids aged 12 and beneath however are topic to availability.
Tiwi Dawn has a restaurant, swimming pool and is positioned on the seashore.
Test availability at Tiwi Dawn*.
Tiwi Seaside Villa – a personal villa
If you’re travelling with a big group this seashore entrance villa sleeps as much as 10 individuals in three bedrooms with a shared rest room.
It has its personal non-public seashore and swimming pool.
Test availability at Tiwi Seaside Villa*.
Wild tenting close to Wadi Shab
Another choice is to camp. Wild tenting may be very simple in Oman as you are able to do it anyplace out of sight of homes and a secure distance from roads.
You’ll nonetheless want a 4×4 to entry most wild tenting locations in Oman.
Well-liked tenting locations close to Wadi Shab are Pebble Seaside and Fins Seaside. You’ll discover each simply to the north of Tiwi.
Extra studying about Oman
We moved to Oman in 2022 and are loving attending to know our new, residence.
Right here’s some extra posts I’ve written about Oman and expat life:
Take a look at the #TinBoxOman hashtag on Instagram to see extra of our adventures.
Disclosure: this submit accommodates affiliate hyperlinks marked with *. If you happen to click on on one in all these and make a purchase order I’ll earn some fee. This doesn’t have an effect on the value you pay.