Saturday, 6 December 2014

Off-roading: Khoud valley

For our second road trip we decided to stay closer to home. The sky still looked overcast and knowing it could rain any minute we started the morning off slowly with breakfast at More Cafe (which needs a post of its own). Just as we finished our tea, the skies opened and Muscat had about 20 minutes of quite heavy rainfall.

As a European, rain isn't that novel, so it was funny to watch how excited the local people were about it, even going outside to take pictures.

Once the rain stopped it seemed like the perfect time to head out and see the effect on the wadis, which are valleys formed by water and that are dry except for when the rains comeUnsurprisingly, there is little drainage here, on the most part it is not needed, and it is easy for roads to get flooded; the wadis after rainfall fill and act as a drainage course.

We drove down to part of the Khoud valley, a 20-minute drive from Muscat. Wadi driving is a bit of a thing here anyway and it’s common to see convoys of families setting up BBQs (and even camp) and youths hooning about in 4x4s and on quad bikes. After the rain was no different, and I'm willing to bet that even more people were out, curious as we were to see the effect.

The valley is actually quite long and I couldn't tell you exactly at what point we entered, although I do know we were headed in the direction of the dam. There were pools of water and we were able to drive down some of wadi. Even though we have a 4x4, we didn't want to test its capability and potentially end up stuck so we parked up and decided to explore on foot. It should be said that the locals didn't seem to have these fears and for the one that we did see get stuck, people were quick to help.

We didn't manage to explore as much as we would have liked as we sensed that more rain was on the way and decided to head back to the car and exit the wadi before the masses. We were in luck that just as we began to drive off the rain started and we quickly saw everyone jumping into their cars and beginning to get away. For what doesn't seem like heavy rain, you could see the wadi filling up quickly, and there was a lot of urgency to get out. What was even more surprising was the number of cars trying to get into the wadi, but we didn't stick around to find out what happened to them! 

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