Wadi Bani Awf is a large wadi south of Muscat that makes for one of the more impressive drives in the country if you’re travelling from the capital down to the mountains. You’ll start out heading north along the coastline from Muscat, and you may want to visit the attractive fishing village of Barka and the dramatic forts of Rustaq and Nakhl along the way. You then begin your drive up the canyon of Wadi Bani Awf – the valley floor is dense with palms whilst higher up the mountainsides are terraced fields and villages built of traditional mud-brick. The exposed mountains reveal layers of rock repeatedly folded and shaped by tectonic forces, to the point where they appear to have shattered. After reaching a plateau, you begin the descent of the far side of the mountain range, through more dramatic scenery, before re-joining tarmac roads that take you to Nizwa or your mountain hotel.
This adventurous way to cross the mountains to Nizwa and the interior requires a 4×4 vehicle. We actually recommend you only do this route with an experienced driver guide who knows the road well as it can get tricky to navigate in places, which is what makes it so spectacular!