Wadi Fida

The Sultanate draws much of its character from its great wadis which, like arterial lifelines criss-cross the length and breadth of the country, spawning a multitude of streams and springs that in turn support Oman's enchanting heritage of verdant oasis villages. These wadis boast their own distinctive appeal as they meander through mountains, valleys and plains. Wadi Fida, in the wilayat of Dhank, is no exception, offering charm and variety as it cuts a swathe through the Dhahirah region before disgorging its bounty in the sands of the Al Sinainah desert straddling the Oman-UAE border.

Getting there
To reach this picturesque wadi, take the interior road to Dhank, via Nizwa and Ibri, covering a total distance of about 380km from Muscat. Many visitors however choose to begin their tour of the wadi about 30km upstream where the water flow is especially bountiful. This stretch is accessible from Yanqul. Just 4km before you reach Yanqul town, a signpost announces the turn to Wadi Fida, a short distance ahead. The wadi is usually in full flow at this point, gurgling on for about three kilometres and then follows a subterranean course until it reaches the outskirts of Dhank, some 30km downstream.

There are motorable trails running alongside the sinuous course of the wadi all the way to Dhank.In fact much of Wadi Fida's charm lies along a scenic one-kilometre stretch at Dhank. Here, date palms and other wadi flora grow rich and thick in a verdant swathe with the crystal waters of the wadi coursing through. Viewed against the bare limestone cliffs running along the wadi's edge, this stretch has a breathtaking picture-book appeal. You can climb one of these hills for panoramic views of the wadi and the surrounding countryside.

Pleasant date palm gardens are laid in immaculate rows along the wadi's edge, while grass and reeds grow lush in the middle of the wadi, attracting a variety of birds. As the water flow ebbs, especially during summer, local farmers set up shallow dams channelling the water into aflaj that course through the date palm fields. Dhank village lies in the elbow of a mountain on the other side of Wadi Fida, protected by a modern roadway that also serves as an embankment. Heavy rains in the catchment areas feeding Wadi Fida can send floodwaters crashing through the wadi leaving damaged date palms in their wake.

The road embankment helps keep the floodwaters in check. The mountains end just beyond Dhank opening out to an expansive plain. The area is dotted by smart neighbourhoods, which have sprung up in recent years as people began abandoning their old mud dwellings for the modern homes of today. Another wadi that invites discovery is Wadi Fath located in the north of the wilayat. It begins its sinuous course somewhere in the Western Hajar mountains, cutting a swathe through mountains and gravel plains via Yanqul and Dhank before eventually emptying its bounty in the desert sands of western Oman.

There are surface flows only in the Fath area of Dhank wilayat, with giant rocks and boulders strewn along the wadi's course. Large trees featuring delightful yellow flowers add to the atmosphere in the wadi. To reach Wadi Fath, take the main road from Ibri to Dhank, and drive for another 36km in the same direction. Just before Al Sinainah, an intersection on your right takes you to Wadi Fath, 29km down this route. If you have time on your hands, you can drive onward to Al Sinainah and proceed west for another 41km to reach Al Safah, which is quite close to the border with the United Arab Emirates. You can explore the scenic sand-dune environment of this area, dotted by a few Bedu communities.

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