Visiting Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman
If you’re on a holiday in Oman, Wadi Bani Khalid should be up there on the list of places you must visit. This refreshing oasis in the mountains near the desert, with its serene beauty in a remote location, will make you feel the sense of pleasant surprise that nomads in the old days must have felt when they came across this place.
So here are some things you should know when visiting Wadi Bani Khalid on your trip to Oman.
Getting to Wadi Bani Khalid
Travelling to Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman takes around two hours if you leave from Sur, and around three hours if you leave from Muscat. This site is also quite close to several desert camping locations, which means that with a little planning, you can visit this natural marvel and also enjoy a camping experience in one go.
While Wadi Bani Khalid is a large canyon in Oman, the place where most visitors gather is a swimming area, so you should bear this in mind if you are following GPS coordinates to get to the location. It is always wise to ask a local for directions to make sure you end up at the right place.
The site offers free parking, although the area may be crowded if you visit on a weekend. The parking lot is also pretty close to the site, unlike many other Wadis in Oman.
A short distance from the parking lot is the largest and most popular pool in Wadi Bani Khalid. While this is a captivating spot, and the one that is featured the most in the photos online, you should bear in mind that this is not the only pool. This one also tends to be the most crowded, with locals and tourists swimming inside and picnicking around it, so if you do a bit of exploring, you will be able to find a less-crowded pool if you prefer.
The pool also has little fish inside it that will nibble at the dead skin on your feet if you leave them inside for a while. This will give you a tickling sensation, but it is actually quite healthy; people pay good money for services like these at foot spas around the world, whereas you can enjoy this treatment for free!
Of all the Wadis in Oman, Wadi Bani Khalid arguably boasts the most developed facilities around it, one of which is the on-site restaurant. The refreshing juice served here is perfect after a walk in the hot sun, and will have you energized and ready for your dip in the pool. It also serves small meals, ice cream and snacks like popcorn. The restaurant area also has bathrooms, where you can freshen up and change your clothes before and after your swim.
The upper pools and canyons
While you will encounter the lower pool as you walk into the site, you can follow the signs to get to the upper pools. This will take you on a short, ten-minute hike over some smooth white rock, which can be quite slippery, so it is advisable that you make your way up slowly and carefully.
The pools that you will find on this path have considerably less crowding, which will allow you to enjoy the water in peace and tranquillity. There is also a beach-like area where you will find the entrance to a larger swimming pool, which ranges from shallow to very deep, so some caution should be exercised when swimming here. In case you’re an explorer-type, there are some caves that you can enjoy, as long as you bring a flashlight.
This upper area is often overlooked by visitors, but it is something you must experience when visiting Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman!
What to pack for your trip
When visiting Wadi Bani Khalid, it’s wise to dress modestly and keep your swimming kit in your bag, since you can change at the restroom facilities available at the restaurant. Also make sure your swimwear is also modest to some degree; wearing a thong bikini may result in some awkward situations.
The ministry of tourism is around and will kindly ask you to wear a large t-shirt and shorts that you can wear on top of your swimming kit.
You should also bring some a waterproof case for your phone or camera, so that you can get some really great pictures without having to worry too much about getting your phone wet.
Obviously, you will need a towel to dry off after your swim, and you might also want to pack along some goggles and a snorkel so that you can enjoy the view beneath the crystal clear waters.
All in all, there is so much to see in Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman that you will easily spend about four to five hours taking it all in. If you’ve also planned for some desert camping, which can be enjoyed just 45 minutes from Wadi Bani Khalid, it would be a wise choice to book an overnight camping experience that begins in the evening, so that you can visit the Wadi early and go to the camp after sunset. If not, you can visit the Wadi after your camping experience is done, provided you can check out by mid-day, so that you can enjoy the sunset at the Wadi.