You have to pity the donkeys of the past who, until the 1980s, had to trudge up the punishingly steep track, laden with supplies, to reach the village of Wakan. A 4WD is now required to make the journey from the Batinah Plain, along a narrow track that at times is little more than a ledge jutting out from the mountainside. The effort is rewarded, on reaching this renovated old watchtower, with a 180-degree view of the desert floor below.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Oman attractions

1. Picnic Shelter

0.43 MILES

Marking the end point of national Walking Route 25, this small pavilion has yet another spectacular vista across the Al Ghubra Basin a thousand metres…

2. Al Aqor

6.46 MILES

This tiny hamlet clinging to the edge of the cliff, below Diana's Viewpoint, is typical of the villages on the Saiq plateau. Growing an assortment of…

3. Diana's Viewpoint

6.53 MILES

The rim of the cliff here, with its celebrated panoramic view of the farmed terraces below, has a royal connection. Diana, Princess of Wales, enjoyed this…

4. Ash Shuraiqa

7.07 MILES

Growing an abundance of pink Damask roses that bloom in spring (late March, early April), this village is linked to neighbouring villages by the…

5. Seeq

7.93 MILES

Not to be confused with the main town of Saiq, this small village has a rose-water distillery, making it an interesting place to visit during production…

6. Wadi Bani Habib

9.83 MILES

Wadi Bani Habib refers less to the wadi of walnuts and pomegranates that are still grown here, and more to the ruined village that lies wrapped around the…

7. Wadi Mistal

15.42 MILES

Less wadi and more an extension of the Batinah Plain, Wadi Mistal leads through a narrow gap in the mountains to an enormous desert basin. Dotted with…

8. Old Village

15.62 MILES

This crumbling old quarter is loosely strewn over the hill behind modern Birkat Al Mawz and makes a fascinating place to wander around. Some…