Rocks so hot they burn your hands
Water so cold it makes your teeth chatter
Scenery so epic it takes your breath away
The Snake Gorge in Wadi Bani Awf – ideal for professional rock climbers, tough men and life-long tomboys, adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies. That doesn’t sound like you? It doesn’t sound like me either. Yet, I spent the entire Friday climbing/walking/crawling over the rocks at The Snake Gorge wondering if it was named so after the giant anacondas that dwelled in the caves. (Ok, so there are no anacondas and there are no caves).
The extravagant trip began at Tourist Village in Rustaq, a jewel we have discovered during one of our previous road trips. The campsite is located about 2 hours away from Muscat, en route to Rustaq and is impossible to miss thanks to a very worn-looking signboard alongside the main road. This lush, green resort comprises of a few huts, a swimming pool and a dining area that’s fantastic for a barbeque dinner. The rates are accessible at 25OMR per hut which is based on double occupancy. The owner of “the second home” Mr. Mohammed is a jolly old man who is pleased with his property and is very welcoming of visitors. The stay was very civilized; we had a table to eat at, a pool to swim in and comfortable beds to rest. Best not to forget that we were in the middle absolutely nowhere so yes there were mosquitoes, frogs, bugs and the whole whoo-ha. I was constantly picking leafs out of my wine and hair and ducking from wasps.
I made sure everyone came well prepared (you know how I love lists!) and for the rest of the evening I was referred to as “The Mom” because I just seemed to have the answers to everyone’s problems: nail files, salt, band aids, Strepsils, nasal spray…well you get the drift. The dinner the guys grilled up was delicious complete with snacks and a ridiculous amount of alcohol. We then spend the rest of the afternoon eating, swimming and chatting until the early hours of the morning.
If you consider a weekend getaway into the interiors, I strongly advise you to check this place out. It even comes with its own guard dog- Max
Do: bring your own music, mosquito repellent, food and drinks
Don’t: assume you are in a hotel, pick up your own litter and make your own bed!
The next morning we rose early to the annoying tweeting, no not of a bird- of my best friend’s boyfriend. You see…he is a morning person. But don’t worry he already regrets it. By 8 am he had already cleaned up the campsite, packed all our gear and would have even made the beds if we weren’t sleeping in them. Fighting epic hangovers, we scattered around organizing breakfast, hunted for coffee and finally left for Wadi Bani Awf.
To reach Snake Gorge all you have to do is turn right when leaving the Tourist Camp and keep going straight until you pretty much come to holt because there are two gigantic mountains in front of you. Ok, so I will try to get better directions…but for now, this is all I have
Luckily no one told me that the Snake Gorge Trek is about 2 hours long- one way!!! Knowing me, I would have probably not embarked on this treacherous journey if I knew that I had to climb over rocks as big as a Pathfinder. I am glad that we went though, because I have not seen scenery this beautiful anywhere else in Oman. The entire time we made our way in between two steep mountains, amidst fallen rocks and mossy creeks. We would occasionally stop for everyone to catch up, wash our faces in the running rivers as other trekkers walked past us.
I was very eager to find out what mysteries the end of the route held and I was also determined to push myself just a little more each time. Alex kept on telling me that he is very proud of me for walking all the way up, something I have always chickened out of previously! This trek is virtually impossible to do on your own, the entire time I was relying on helping hands to support me up a steep rock or secure me when I was jumping over a cavern. I must admit I was looking out for snakes the entire time but all I found was beetles, frogs, tadpoles and dragonflies (thankfully!).
As pictures are worth a thousand words, I will let you enjoy the rest of the Snake Gorge through these:
Lo and behold at the end of the Snake Gorge there is a pool of freezing cold water that is both murky and inviting. It is a deep pool, one you can even dive into so don’t assume you can walk through.
If you want to embark on this route:
Do: wear comfortable sandals/sneakers, bring your swim suite and sun screen, bring a camera and plenty of drinking water.
Don’t: bring a heavy bag, leave litter behind