Finale: The Oasis at Wadi Shab in Oman
After trekking approximately three kilometers from the entrance through canyons of sandstone with occasional groves of banana and date palm trees and pools of turquoise green water, I finally reached the end of Wadi Shab, which held a surprise for its visitors…
Finale: The Oasis at Wadi Shab in Oman
…a lagoon awaits in which you can swim.
Thinking I was pretty much alone in Wadi Shab during my trek, I was surprised to find several people enjoying the refreshing green water of the lagoon.
If you do plan on swimming in the lagoon, ensure that you secure your valuables in a safe at the hotel or resort property at which you are staying before you traveling to Wadi Shab, as there is nowhere to store them — other than on the rocks themselves.
Also be sure to bring sunscreen for your skin, a hat of some type as shade is scarce, flip flops or shoes of some type to wear while you are in the water, a small day pack to hold snacks and a bottle or two of water, a camera or mobile smartphone case which is waterproof so that you may take photographs while you swim, and a dry bag in which to put your valuable items in case you are unable to secure them anywhere else.
Wear your bathing suit underneath your clothes so that you may remove them and place them on the rocks once you arrive — unless you want to take a chance and change your clothing behind a rock wall or inside of a crevice…
…but remember that you are in a Muslim country; so be sure to cover your your shoulders and legs at least to the knee. I wore jeans and a T-shirt, which are perfectly acceptable clothes to wear.
Two women in bathing suits enjoy the water of the lagoon as their guide looks on, as you can hire a guide who knows Wadi Shab well and can take you through there — or you can arrange for an organized tour from Muscat.
As discreet as the swimming may be — to the point where you may feel like you are in complete privacy — do not go skinny dipping, as that is strictly taboo.
Consider swimming to the final pool of water only if you are confident enough to do so, as the lagoon is rather lengthy; and the water is so deep that you cannot touch the bottom.
A mother and her child share a quiet moment together with their feet in the cool water in the canyon of Wadi Shab.
Of course, you do not have to swim in the water if you would rather not do so…
…as you can simply marvel at the breathtaking views and vistas.
Algae covers some of the rocks, which can potentially render navigation over them to be rather slippery — as well as getting in and out of the water.
Wearing something on your feet is important in order to protect them from all of the pebbles which are found under the water.
Imagine sitting on one of the rocks for a few minutes and immersing yourself in the tranquility of the water which is peacefully flowing by you.
You can even duck into a partially submerged cave — which is not pictured — if you are so inclined.
Once you get to the end of the lagoon, carefully squeeze yourself through a crevice in the sandstone cliff — which is just big enough for your head to fit through…
…and you will see a small cave and secret waterfall — a rope is available upon which you can scramble up the waterfall — and cascading waterfalls await swimmers just beyond the lagoon.
You may be understandably tempted to spend a lot of time in Wadi Shab; but be sure to remember what time the last boat back to the parking lot departs.
Wadi Shab is filled with surprises, awaiting you to discover them.
Wadi Shab is located off of Highway 17 approximately 168 kilometers southeast of Muscat; and it is very easy to reach by motor vehicle. Give yourself at least two hours and 15 minutes to drive on mostly limited access highways to get there. Traffic should not be a problem unless you are traveling on a weekend — which is Friday or Saturday in Oman — or during a holiday. You may park your vehicle free of charge in the parking lot under the highway.
The short boat ride round trip costs one Omani rial, which is approximately $2.60 in United States dollars and the only cost you can expect to incur if you tour Wadi Shab by yourself. The first boat departs at 8:00 in the morning; and the last boat back departs at 6:00 in the evening during the summer months and at 5:00 in the evening during the winter months.
Toilets are available at the entrance near the parking lot from 7:00 in the morning through 7:00 in the evening; so be sure to use them prior to the boat ride, as no other facilities exist once you enter Wadi Shab.
Wadi Shab was one of my top highlights of visiting Oman; and I highly recommend visiting it — especially if you enjoy nature. Give yourself at least three hours to fully enjoy the experience.
For the entire trip report of my experience, please refer to the following articles in order:
- Approaching Wadi Shab in Oman
- Wadi Shab in Oman: A Photographic Essay of Its Entrance
- The Boat Ride Into Wadi Shab in Oman
- Wadi Shab in Oman: A Photographic Essay of the Trek Inland
All photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.