There's a lot more to Wadi Khabb Shamsi than that amazingly deep,
narrow gorge. Here's how to sample the hidden delights above
Wadi Khabb Shamsi. For a bit of background, take a look at Wadi
- Altitude: - 460m at the foot of the staircase, 560m at
the farm at the top of the staircase, and 1082m at the summit
of the un-named Jebel that we climbed
- Round-trip: - Really depends on what you do from the
top of the staircase. We spent 5 hours in exploring and climbing
the un-named Jebel.
- Difficulty: - Generally easy walking. Some rough paths
and goat / donkey tracks.
- Liz fear factor: - 2/10
- Chirri dog factor: - Easy. Plenty of animal tracks and
scents to follow. A few donkeys and goats to chase. I've been
wondering what the lizards taste like. Not too sure about meeting
a leopard though.
- Dangers: - Take care in canyon and make sure it isn't
about to rain or your car will be gone when you get back!!
- Wildlife and plants: - Plenty to interest botanists and
- Navigation: Follow the tracks made by the locals.
The staircase we used was at 25° 46.581 N 56° 15.550 E
(459m) - thanks to John Kirk for telling me about this. There is
only a small area for parking cars at the foot of the staircase
perhaps room for 3 or 4 by the water tank. We camped nearby, at
the top of a road which services some villages on the other, inland
side, of the road 25° 46.687 N 56° 14.834 E (584m). To find
the staircase, zero your odometer at the wrecked Toyota chassis.
This is near the village, at the foot of the descent from the mountain
pass at Aqabat Oso, and on the way to Dibba. From the wreck it is
approximately 4.1km. Look out for a water tank on your right which
is situated up against the cliffs beside the road. Here the wadi
runs below the road on the left. The staircase can clearly be seen
on the other side of the wadi.
You could also camp at the top of the pass at Aqabat Oso, or on
the beach at Dibba or Zaghi. A nice place with a great view would
be in the small clearing at the top of the road to Zaghi. If you
fancy carrying all your gear then take lightweight equipment so
you can split the hike across two days and extend your range of
On our trip, we drove to the start of the staircase after breakfast
and spent four or five hours hiking. At the top of the staircase
is quite a large farm at about 560m. When we visited, the Pakistani
caretaker, accompanied us up there and showed us around. We saw
the family graveyard, the water cistern, the tandoor style ovens,
and were given a tour of his accommodation; no electricity or air-conditioning,
but peaceful, and a great view. He even offered to make us some
tea despite the fact that it was Ramadan and he was fasting.
If you visit, then a gift of clothes or shoes that you no longer
need, or some food, would be very well received. This guy was very
friendly and welcoming, and would really appreciate your generosity.
It's well worth spending the time talking to people in the mountains.
Even if there is a language barrier at least make contact and shake
hands. Sometimes local people are suspicious of foreigners and it
really helps if you break the ice a little. In their culture there
is a natural tendancy towards being hospitable to visitors but you
have to be receptive.
From the farm there is plenty to explore. We made for a high-point,
climbing the ridge just behing the caretaker's house. Up there is
a small man-made structure and you get a good view of your surroundings.
Look out for the channels which have been built to direct water
from the winter rains directly down to the farm.
From this point you can choose from various options. Head over
to one of the peaks nearer the coast, head north and explore the
ridges to the east of Aqabat Oso, head south and visit the string
of settlements dotted around the valleys, or if you have time head
over to the coast. On our trip we climbed a peak (25° 47.786
N 56° 15.823 E (1082m)) to the north east of the farm and enjoyed
amazing panoramic views over the surrounding hills. There are many
possibilities up there and it's well worth a visit.
Roy Richards Oct 2003
© Roy L Richards 2012
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