Looky here! An alpine river!! Oh, my GPS says to keep going!
Feeling a little warm this summer? Kind of hot under the collar? Well, check out this wadi deep in the Omani mountains:
Wadi Al Abyad, about midway between Nizwa and the coast, is an amazing destination for a 4WD vehicle. We visited in the cooler season (and these photos were taken then) but it seemed to me the river was not the result of recent rains, but a continuous source – which would mean a magical trip there in the hotter months. Still, I can never guarantee that there will be running water when you get there! Let that be clear.
A 4×4 vehicle is definitely a must for this trip, and good height will be required as several water crossings will bar the way forward. The gravel is deep, and the water beneath can make it tricky terrain, so stay on the side of caution at all times and definitely avoid driving into water without checking its depth first – there can always be a deeper hole right in front of you.
Wadi Abyad can present some rather tricky water crossings, as the following videos show; however, it is surely passable in summer when one can expect the water level to be at its lowest.
The way forward on rocky terrain is with the central differential in LO range and then crawl your way forward very slowly in 1st gear – avoid wheel bounce and any wheel spin: you want to place the wheels on the higher rocks and you will need a trusted spotter, who can direct your wheels precisely.
If there’s too much water to head through the wadi and out the other end, then there’s nothing wrong with turning back – which is what I did.
The wadi itself starts out dry, as a very wide dry bed of white rocks – in fact, “abyad” in Arabic means “white” – with several nice picnic places and oases along the way.
If birds interest you, Wadi Al Abyad is a bird-watchers’ paradise: nests were plentiful, and the presence of water is a magnet to all animals.
The oases along Wadi Al Abyad have benefited from centuries of fresh running water, judging from the erosion that has taken place over eons.
Numerous flowers and insects can be observed.
And this photo clearly shows the wadi’s namesake – white river bed.
Download the KML file for your GPS by clicking here. Once downloaded, you can import the file into your GPS device and take it on the road, or double-click that file and it will open automatically in Google Earth if you have that installed (all adventurers should! Google Earth).
View Wadi Al Abyad in a larger map
My disclaimer is here.