Hawiyat Najim Park: Bimmah Sinkhole in Oman

lthough not all that difficult, one would think that finding Hawiyat Najim Park — which is the location of the Dabab Sinkhole or Bimmah Sinkhole, located 113 kilometers southeast of Muscat in Dabab Village — would have been much easier than it really was; but a giant sinkhole can hide itself rather well.

The sinkhole was located between the highway and the Gulf of Oman; so there really was not very many places for it to hide; and although the signage on Highway 17 was rather clear, the exit dropped me off on this nondescript road in what seemed like the middle of nowhere — and it was at this point where an additional sign or two would have been helpful.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The building shown in the photograph near the entrance houses the toilets for men and women. Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Regardless, I found the place anyway on this lone short road, pulled into the parking lot, parked the rental car, and walked up to the gate thinking that this place must be closed; because when I strolled up to the gate, it was locked and no one seemed to be around. After a couple of minutes, an older man dressed in a traditional thobe appeared from a small shack near the fence and slowly walked up to the gate to unlock it and allow me access without saying a single word. There is no entrance fee.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Even past the gate, you would not think that there was a sinkhole nearby. Rather, it appeared to be like a typical park — nicely but sparsely landscaped with walkways which seemed to take you nowhere except for views of the Gulf of Oman and the nearby mountains from slightly different angles…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…and then, there it was suddenly: the sinkhole was surrounded by a stone wall, with a long staircase for visitors to descend into it.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I walked down the staircase — some of the stairs are somewhat uneven, so watch out — to view the sinkhole up close.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The photographs do not do the colors justice: the rich emerald green of the water, the deep azure blue of the sky, the beiges and reds of the craggy exposed rock showing layers of the earth.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Hawiyat Najim is Arabic for falling star; and one of the stories by the local people explaining the origin of the sinkhole is that a falling star — or, more accurately, a meteorite — impacted this location and caused the hole.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

According to a sign located near the sinkhole, scientific research conducted by experts and geologists refute that story, confirming that the crater was actually formed as a natural consequence of the interaction of dissolving limestone — containing calcium carbonate with water — which resulted in the collapse of the upper crust layer of the earth.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Despite that scientific research, the actual cause and process of the formation of the sinkhole is still considered a mystery of sorts.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

It was incredibly quiet within the sinkhole — save for an occasional echoing sound of trickling water.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I did not witness anyone doing so; but I do believe that swimming in the sinkhole is permitted — at least, there was no indication that swimming was not allowed.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The water certainly looked inviting…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…especially with the surrounding rock reflecting from it.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Most of the time, I was the only person at the sinkhole — simply admiring the natural beauty of it.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

As with other trip reports written by me which contain plenty of photographs…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…it was difficult for me to choose which photographs to use for this article.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The water is supposedly a mix of fresh water and sea water.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Even though the February morning started off relatively cool, I could feel the temperature increasing significantly…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…due to the strong hot Omani morning sun, which beat down into the sinkhole as it hovered overhead.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Two other visitors arrived in the sinkhole; and I photographed the scenery with them in it for the purpose of illustrating the size of the sinkhole.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Tiny fish were swimming in the water — seemingly without a care in the world.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

In addition to the sinkhole and the paths, Hawiyat Najim Park is equipped with a playground for children, chairs, benches, umbrellas, lawns, and areas for families to gather.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Despite its quiet yet striking beauty, it was time for me to leave the sinkhole and head over to Wadi Shab.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I climbed back up the long concrete staircase.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The views of the sinkhole with the rugged mountains in the background definitely inspire awe.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Can you find the couple dressed in traditional Muslim clothing in the photograph shown below?

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

There is no cost to visit Hawiyat Najim Park — not even for parking your vehicle — and you can spend as much time there as you like.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I highly recommend a visit to Hawiyat Najim Park and the Bimmah Sinkhole — whether you are by yourself; with a friend or significant other; or with a family.