Jebel Shams and Al Hajar Mountain Range
I had heard that the mountains of Oman were majestic and had vague knowledge of its “Grand Canyon,” but nothing prepared me for the reality. A three-hour drive (on excellent roads until the last 20 km) from Muscat brings you to the small village of Al Khitaym, home to more goats than people. We never did get the exact species or name, but these are highly-prized animals who bring a high price, especially at Ramadan.The aptly named Balcony Walk leads hikers along the high cliffs overlooking Wadi Nakhr (also referred to as Wadi Ghul), popularly known as the Grand Canyon of Oman. The views of Jebel Shams — Oman’s highest Peak — and the Al Hajar mountains are breathtaking and it is hard to stop taking photos, as the trail winds along 1900 meters above the canyon floor.After an hour or so hike, the abandoned village of Sab Bani Khamis appears. The village dates to prehistoric times and was inhabited by fifteen families until 1970. It is possible to continue on from this point, but we returned to Al Khitaym accompanied by goats and Egyptian vultures and entranced by the scenery.