A 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.
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.
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…
…and then, there it was suddenly: the sinkhole was surrounded by a stone wall, with a long staircase for visitors to descend into it.
I walked down the staircase — some of the stairs are somewhat uneven, so watch out — to view the sinkhole up close.
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.
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.
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.
Despite that scientific research, the actual cause and process of the formation of the sinkhole is still considered a mystery of sorts.
It was incredibly quiet within the sinkhole — save for an occasional echoing sound of trickling water.
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.
The water certainly looked inviting…
…especially with the surrounding rock reflecting from it.
Most of the time, I was the only person at the sinkhole — simply admiring the natural beauty of it.
As with other trip reports written by me which contain plenty of photographs…
…it was difficult for me to choose which photographs to use for this article.
The water is supposedly a mix of fresh water and sea water.
Even though the February morning started off relatively cool, I could feel the temperature increasing significantly…