Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Road trip: The base of Jebel Akhdar

We had a plan. For our second road trip we were going to visit Jebel Akhdar and explore the mountains. I wanted to find the abandoned village, Wadi Bani Habib. My husband wanted to have lunch at the new Hotel Alia. My parents were also here with us and were happy to do whatever. 

We set out at an early time for us (about 10am) and reached the base of the mountain in about two hours. The drive is a pleasant one and you see a lot of the landscape including some impressive oasis filled with date palms.

As we began the drive up the mountain we heard a squeak, followed by a shaking, and had to stop the car.

That was the extent of our Jebel Akhdar experience on that occasion and we decided it was safer to head back down the mountain and abandon the road trip for the day.

We stopped briefly at the bottom of the mountain and while my husband played mechanic, me and my parents took a stroll around what looked like an abandoned village. I say looked like because while a lot of the houses were crumbled and caved in, there were a few that still seemed to be occupied, with clothes hanging outside and satellite dishes mounted on the roof, and we could even hear chattering behind a few of the doors. 
Some of the falaj channels (Oman's original irrigation system) had fresh water running through the village.
Mum playing explorer
Spot the AC unit?
I really love seeing this side of Oman, something truly unique and pertaining to the history of the place. It is also easy to find that you are the only person exploring a place so there is that sense that you are the first to discover it. 

I've not been able to find out the name of the village, but if you are at the base of the mountain, facing it, take a right. You are taken along a narrower road and after a minute or so look out on your left for an even narrower road and the cream-coloured brick of the houses. If you get to the forest area on the right you have gone too far.