This is the third part of a 3-part series:
3) keep reading!
This article is about the wadi hike and waterfall cave.
Wadi Shab entrance is at the north end of the town of Tiwi, in Oman. Here is a map with a downloadable GPS track – just click and it will download.
Starting at the mouth of the wadi, an elevated highway passes over a wide lagoon of fresh water.
You can cross the lagoon by wading across (depending on the water level, naturally – it was waist-high when we went) or by taking a short boat ride across.
While crossing, be on the look out for aquatic birds, which were plentiful.
Once over the lagoon, and into the wadi proper, begin your hike. There is only one wadi, so there is no chance of getting lost. My directions will serve only to help you find the easiest path.
The hike is roughly 3 kilometers to reach the waterfall cave, so it is best to start as early in the morning as possible, in order to avoid the early afternoon heat on the return. We entered at 7AM and were out by noon.
After a while, you will reach the first shallow pools, and the canyon will narrow.
Stay on the right, and look for a water pipe, which you should follow as it snakes up along a man-made path. If you stay down in the wadi bed, the going will get difficult as you will need to clamber over large boulders and swim through pools – that can be fun, too, so if you fancy a bit of canyoning then by all means jump right in!
The water pipe path takes you up along a high ledge.
And along beautiful pools.
As the path dissipates, look for small sections of concrete, especially if they are shaped into steps.
It might be time for a rest and a swim, because the going is about to get tougher!
As you find yourself in a sea of boulders, with no more pipe path to follow, look for a falaj – an irrigation channel – up to either left or right. See if you can walk along it rather than traverse the rocky wadi bed.
You’ve now passed the two-thirds mark, so perhaps another rest is in order, also to admire the scenery.
Finally, the falaj ends, and the path up on the right rises far away – now is the time to stay down in the wadi and begin swimming. Yes, the destination is now not far!
Keep swimming forward until there seems to be a dead end.
But look closely – there is a narrow passage-way between two enormous boulders!
If the water level is high, the passage may be totally under water, otherwise light will be visible on the other side.
It might feel a little claustrophobic, but soldier on, as the sides are not slippery and you can pretty much push yourself forward as you squeeze through.
Inside, boulders have formed a large and airy cave (but there is sunlight) and a lovely waterfall is within it.
My disclaimer is here.