adventurous trek through Snake Gorge
Snake Gorge is not for the squeamish at heart. Dark
legends surround this great fissure in the rugged
landscapes of Al Rostaq about water-filled
caves that can only be traversed by swimming underwater
for a considerable distance; about death-defying leaps
from 10,000-feet cliffs into pools of water just two
feet deep, and so on.
fortunately, these stories hold no truth.It is true,
nevertheless, that the wadi like any other
wadi in the country can be transformed into
a dangerous torrent in the aftermath of a downpour.
Great fissure in the mountains in Al Rostaq
where Snake Gorge runs through
Pictures by Rhodri Davies
Preparing to jump into a pool
trek through Wadi Bimah also called Snake Gorge
is the highpoint of a tour of picturesque Wadi Bani Auf
in Al Rostaq wilayat. Jeanina Santiago speaks to Rhodri
Davies, a Muscat-based engineer, about his experiences through
the Snake Gorge, which he has visited more than 30 times
over the last 10 years
is advisable, therefore, to check the weather forecast before
attempting a trek through Snake Gorge.
a slight build-up precipitation can be a caveat against the
two-and-a-half hour backpack hike through the gorge.
sightings in the gorge are not uncommon, but like other wild
animals in Oman, they shy away from human beings.
keep away from warmer areas of the gorge, especially those
exposed to the sun, where they are most likely to shelter.
is also advisable to throw some pebbles into the water to be sure
there are no slithering surprises in store, when you take the
plunge. Whatever the story about snakes, reports of snakebites
in the gorge are virtually non-existent.
fact, the Snake Gorge walk can be a wonderful day out as
long as you are careful, sensible and heed the warnings of nature.
Rhodri Davies, an engineer with Desert Services LLC, has visited
the canyon more than 30 times over the last 10 years, thereby
earning himself the admiration of fellow trekkers.
is for this reason that he sometimes leads groups of tourists
and even Omani visitors on a three-kilometre walk through
the gorge. Some of Rhodri's pointers on trekking are as
follows: bring along as few items as possible and keep them
in a backpack.
T-shirt, shorts, or if one pleases, swimwear under the T-shirt.
For the feet, wear good-gripping trainers with socks.
possible, skip the spectacles even sunglasses
unless they have elasticised bands, as it is easy to lose
them when taking the plunge through some pools.
Rhod, as he is also called, cautions against dark-coloured
rocks, which can be very slippery.
instead of treading water in waist-high pools, it is advisable
to swim across lest one encounters unexpected surfaces on the
floor of the pool. The best time to undertake the walk is before
midday, he adds.
Rhodri Davies, with his sister and
friend, inside the gorge
Snake Gorge walk actually entails three kilometres of walking,
wading through pools, swimming, and scrambling over boulders
in the gorge between two cliffs, to eventually come out
pools and small waterfalls are crossed during the walk,
including one pool that flows into a pitch-black 30-metre-long
Wading through a narrow pool
Trekkers pictured inside
only light in this cave is that coming from the mouth of the
cave. Indeed, the whole journey is both a physical and a mental
challenge and thus, should not be taken lightly.
why he continues to make the trek despite so many trips into
the canyon so far, Rhodri says: "It's like a roller coaster
ride, or like white water rafting without the raft.
will never know what to expect. And once the walk is completed,
one feels a sense of achievement." According to Rhodri, physical
fitness does not have to be a prerequisite for crossing the gorge.
have been instances when he led a diabetic and a rugby player
who couldn't swim. Only two things helped them across the gorge
a streamline flotation jacket and a huge sense of determination.
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