Al-Wajmah at AL-Rustaq
a stunning picturesque hamlet
other places in the northern regions of the Sultanate offer
such sumptuous beauty — spectacular sights, rugged terrain,
towering peaks, mineral springs, solitude, and a cliff-side
hamlet straight from a picture postcard.
in essence, is a description of Wajmah, a tiny village of
just about 350 people living a tranquil, rustic life on
a remote mountain ridge in the Western Hajar.Wajmah is at
the southernmost end of picturesque Wadi A'Sahtin, about
35 km from Al Rostaq town.
houses are a feature of Wajmah's cliff-side dwellings.
— Pictures by Abdullah Ibrahim al Shuhi
villages located deep in
heart of Wadi A'Sahtin
in the wilayat of Al Rostaq, is a tiny cliff-side hamlet located
deep in the heart of Wadi A'Sahtin. If you have the stomach for
a bone-jarring, vertiginous drive to its hillside perch, there is
much enchantment in store
It is a
vertiginous climb by 4-wheel drive, which should be attempted only by
those with the stomach for dizzying heights. Vehicles should be checked
and certified as worthy of this perilous climb.
are beautiful oasis villages in little cleavages of the rugged countryside.
They are nourished by small aflaj and mineral springs that have collectively
enhanced the splendour of Wadi A'Sahtin.
kilometres down the meandering wadi, the graded track leaves the wadi
bed and begins the steep ascent to one of Al Rostaq's finest attractions.
palms grow in a thick
frolic in a natural pond, replenished
the waters of numerous springs, in Wajmah
is a twisting path, hugging the contours of the rugged terrain with
the brooding presence of the Hajar mountains all around.A'Naid, a tiny
village at the foot of the mountains, looms into view with its appealing
terraced plantations and date trees.
It is one
of many such oasis villages strung out virtually in the middle of nowhere
in this rugged countryside.
welfare departments of the government are making solid inroads into
this remote location running schools, clinics, vocational training centres
and other welfare services.
other splendid views of the landscape along the route. Blooms of thal
flowers and the A'shia tree, known for its perfumed oil, can be encountered
Wajmah springs into view at the end of the treacherous route. It clings
to the edge of an escarpment amid a splash of greenery in spectacular
contrast to the surrounding arid, rocky mountains.
emerging from close to the summit of the mountain have been at the heart
of Wajmah's remote cliff-side existence.
It is a
marvel indeed that a rocky mountain should yield such refreshing and
perennial springs.It starts as a trickle from the summit, then joins
forces with other springs to become a network of burbling streams. They
empty into a large pond in which children have an occasional romp.
feeds many aflaj that course through the hamlet nurturing terraced plantations
and other crops. The hamlet nestles in the embrace of an escarpment
towering some 800 feet above the cluster of stone houses. The houses
are precariously perched on the edge of the escarpment, and one could
be breathless by the time one reaches the topmost home.
mineral spring trickles out of the mountainside in Wajmah
pathways are steep, and one has to be surefooted as the goats reared
here, to keep to these tricky paths.
village has grown amid the boulders that came crashing down centuries
earlier. Occasionally a boulder is still loosed from the face of
the escarpment, crashing menacingly close to the houses, but mercifully
without any injuries thus far.
hospitality of Wajmah's residents knows no bounds. Every visitor
is treated to the special warmth of this mountaintop hamlet. The
best of the village's fruit harvest is offered, including grapes
that grow in abundance here.
date trees rise to amazing heights, which is unique to the region.
Lemon is also a popular crop. Said bin Khalaf bin Hamed al Abri,
one of Wajmah's elders, told the Observer that the surrounding peaks
are covered with snow and ice, and the temperature in the village
plunges during winter.
Jebal Shams, one of the region's most popular attractions, lies
north of Wajmah.
rains, the mountains come alive with myriad waterfalls which flood Wadi
A'Sahtin. Often the intrepid among the villagers climb to the summit
of their mountain abode to visit a network of caves through which water
flows around the year. The Ibex and the wolf also make rare appearances
in these mountains, Said adds.
remains unsurpassed as the most charming of Wadi A'Sahtin's many attractions.
But along its 35-km course are many stunning facets that make a visit
here very rewarding. Twenty kilometres into the wadi lies Amq, one of
Wadi A'Sahtin's oldest villages. It is a picturesque oasis village with
an ancient watchtower since ravaged by time and nature.
above the village and its environs are the jagged peaks of the Hajar
mountains with the mist-shrouded Jebal Shams located just beyond.Before
the wadi got its present name, Wadi A'Sahtin was called Amq. The name
was changed in deference to a local dignitary called A'Sahtin who lived
in the wadi.
brother Hinai lived in another famous wadi, which later assumed the
name Wadi Bani Hinai. Many tourists drive through Wadi A'Sahtin, lured
by pretty, tranquil villages with their terraced crops and date plantations.
In winter, the pleasant weather prevailing in the wadi makes it a popular
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