For a taste of a typical Omani wadi within an afternoon’s drive of Muscat, look no further than Wadi Mayh. With towering limestone cliffs forming a canyon, sand-coloured villages, back-garden date plantations, straying goats and feral donkeys – not to mention a compulsory watchtower or two – Wadi Mayh is also a geological wonder. Look out for a pair of stout aflaj (irrigation channels) that follow the course of the wadi, carrying water from one village plantation to the next.
The wadi is distinguished by multicoloured layers of rock that have been forced into a vertical wall, and there are many other notable geological forms along the route indicated by fading green signs. For a description of these, download the Muscat Geotourism Guide app. Wadi Mayh connects the road to Yiti with Hwy 17, the Muscat–Qurayat road, and is sealed for much of the way. That said, the steep sides of the wadi make it vulnerable to fierce flash flooding that often washes out part of the road.