Wadi Bani Awf

Natural Feature in Rustaq

This spectacular wadi is a major artery through the mountains and often flows year-round with spring water. It looks particularly gorgeous when mountain rain causes the falaj (irrigation channel), which parallels the entire lower reach of the wadi, to cascade over its walls. With its towering cliffs and plantation settlements huddled along the wadi banks, mature native trees and striking rock features, the wadi offers a fascinating glimpse of rural life in Oman's hidden interior, beyond the populous plain.

A brand new paved road leads into the wadi from Hwy 13, but a 4WD is required to explore beyond the end of the road. Just beyond the paved section of road, the track veers right for Wadi Sahten, via a rock arch, and left for the upper reaches of Wadi Bani Awf at a signposted junction marked by a stand of ancient Ziziphus (native 'Christ thorn trees', popular with goats).

The track through the upper reaches of this wadi is a thrilling off-road drive along narrow ledges. There's often no room to pass another vehicle and backing round a hairpin bend, with a 500m drop if you get it wrong, is not for the faint-hearted! The route passes by Snake Gorge and climbs up, via Bilad Sayt and the village of Hatt, to Sharfat Al Alamayn – a celebrated viewpoint more usually reached by paved road from Al Hamra.