If you’re searching for a ravishing wadi in Oman the place you’ll be able to discover and swim simply then Wadi Bani Khalid is the place to go.
It’s simply accessible, is heated by a sizzling spring and has customer amenities.
Nonetheless, as you may count on, it’s no secret.
Wadi Khalid is probably the most accessible but in addition probably the most business of the well-known wadis we’ve visited since transferring to Oman. It was a little bit of a shock to our system after exploring a lot quieter locations however we nonetheless loved it.
Right here’s our expertise so you’ll be able to resolve for yourselves whether or not you need to go to Wadi Bani Khalid or to hunt out journey at one of many different superb wadis in Oman.
Why go to Wadi Bani Khalid?
Wadi Bani Khalid doesn’t have the identical secluded appeal of Wadi Damm that we camped at early in our seven day Oman street journey, however it was undoubtedly price a go to.
It has giant heat swimming pools for swimming lower than a ten minute, straightforward stroll from the automotive park.
For extra journey and to flee probably the most touristy areas, you’ll be able to swim a for much longer part of the wadi. You may also stroll a rocky path alongside the aspect of the wadi and keep away from swimming altogether whereas nonetheless appreciating fantastic views of the clear water beneath.
Someplace that fewer folks discover is a cave which is 1km into Wadi Khalid. You’ll be able to climb inside to find the new spring that feeds the wadi’s luxuriously heat waters.
The stroll into Wadi Bani Khalid
From the top of the automotive park you’re taking a raised concrete path with date palms on both aspect.
After 5 minutes this turns right into a slim stroll alongside aspect an irrigation channel. Simply observe the yellow, white and crimson markers painted on the rocks.
And that’s as difficult because the stroll to the primary pool will get.
You’ll quickly spot a cover and bridge over a big pool of water and a restaurant on the left.
It is a place to loosen up, have your toes nibbled by small fish within the water or go for a swim. It’s simply accessible with younger kids (though pushchairs wouldn’t make it) and those that don’t need a correct hike.
When you’re eager to discover additional keep on the appropriate aspect the place you’ll spot an indication saying ‘Muqal Cave 1km’.
That is the much less trodden path at Wadi Bani Khalid, not as a result of it’s arduous, however as a result of most guests don’t come right here for very lengthy.
The trail above the wadi is nicely marked however there are a number of uneven sections, slippy rocks and algae coated streams to cross.
However if you’re sporting sturdy sneakers, not flip flops, it’s not too difficult. Stairs have been inbuilt locations to make the stroll simpler, however you continue to must thoughts your step.
The stroll above the wadi provides you fantastic views of the turquoise water beneath.
The trail is sort of broad however there’s no security rail between you and an extended drop into the wadi in some locations. Maintain the palms of youthful kids so you understand the place they’re always.
After a 5 minute average hike the trail comes down to satisfy the water.
This second swimming spot has tents which you need to use for becoming swimwear. There was an honesty field requesting 100 baisa (about 25p) after we visited.
The pool right here is shallow, heat and ultimate for a fast dip. There have been numerous folks on this small space and a few of them wished to speak to our canine, so I didn’t get an image.
From right here you’ll be able to proceed swimming up the wadi although deeper sections or stroll over some rocks and throughout a shallow part of working water in the direction of the doorway of Muqal Cave, also called Makal Cave.
Muqal Cave at Wadi Bani Khalid
1km from the primary swimming pools and restaurant is the doorway to Muqal Cave. It’s price visiting as a result of it incorporates a sizzling spring – the supply of Wadi Bani Khalid’s heat waters.
Nonetheless, as with all pure sights in Oman, your well being and security is your individual accountability. An analogous web site within the UK would both be closed to guests or solely be open for guided excursions with arduous hats and different security tools.
We determined to duck inside primarily based on the truth that different folks have been popping out wanting fairly blissful.
Beneath is what we skilled at Muqal Cave that can assist you resolve whether or not it’s one thing you’d prefer to see.
The doorway to the cave is up a slim concrete ramp. After we obtained to the highest we weren’t too certain what we have been or what we’d discover inside. Apart from a little bit of graffiti across the slim opening, there’s no indicators telling you in regards to the cave.
We hadn’t even introduced a torch, so switched on the lights on our telephones as with slithered inside.
The cave is dry however you’ll come out dripping with sweat as a result of the environment is so humid.
It wasn’t attainable for us to face up straight for fairly a number of meters and after we did it was in small bubble-like chambers with bats roosting above us. As we bowed our heads and continued additional in we have been met with partitions of sizzling air and the sound of speeding water within the cave beneath.
It was at this level that we realised in regards to the sizzling spring. We moved deeper and located a bigger chamber with extra honeycomb rocks however didn’t discover the water. There are totally different paths main off the cave, so we will need to have missed the one which led to the spring.
After 10 minutes my eldest was feeling a bit claustrophobic so we circled and returned to the doorway.
When you fancy visiting Muqal Cave put on research sneakers and garments you don’t thoughts getting soiled. Additionally convey a torch and take it slowly. We bumped our heads in a number of locations.
You’ll additionally want a drink of water and one other swim if you emerge – it’s like a sauna.
Suggestions for swimming in Wadi Bani Khalid
In addition to the primary set of swimming pools Mr Tin Field and our women swam up and down the size of the wadi whereas I walked alongside with our canine.
I’d already counted myself out of a refreshing dip after leaving half my swimwear at our camp in Wahiba Sands!
The rock slopes down into the water making it straightforward to get in. Simply be cautious of slippery algae beneath the waterline.
The wadi has some very deep sections and locations the place you have to scramble over rocks or small waterfalls to progress. This can be slippy work. See the part beneath on what to put on for our recommendations on footwear.
What to put on at Wadi Bani Khalid
When you didn’t already know this was a preferred vacationer vacation spot, the indicators within the automotive park and once more if you attain the primary swimming pools are a lifeless giveaway.
They let you know what you might be anticipated to put on and about acceptable behaviour at Wadi Bani Khalid so that you respect native customs.
Conservative out of doors clothes
Oman is a Muslim nation the place dressing conservatively is a authorized requirement. Usually it is best to put on garments that cowl higher arms and knees.
A brief sleeve t-shirt and cropped exercise leggings for ladies and a t-shirt and lengthy shorts for males is completely acceptable when visiting Wadi Bani Khalid.
In relation to the swimming we’d suggest rash vests with brief sleeves* and swim shorts*. These may be worn beneath different clothes and likewise assist to guard in opposition to the solar.
We all the time put on strolling sandals that we are able to use in water after we go to wadis. This protects carrying additional water sneakers which are important for stoney and slippery sections.
The ladies and I all have KEEN sneakers, which have grippy soles for strolling and have been out and in of the water extra occasions than I can depend.
The youngsters at present have KEEN Unisex Child’s Verano Open Toe Sandals* and I’ve had a pair of KEEN path sneakers for about 4 years now. They’ve been discontinued however are nonetheless going sturdy.
Right here’s one other KEEN out of doors sandal* that I do know would work nicely as the ladies have had smaller variations previously. The youngsters all the time develop out of KEEN sneakers earlier than they put on them out, so we regularly go them on.
Your well being and security is your individual accountability whichever wadi you go to. This is the reason we began bringing alongside buoyancy aids to each wadi the place we intend to swim.
Accidents can occur shortly, significantly slip ups. So should you fall over in water it’s significantly better that you simply float.
We introduced one of many children’ buoyancy aids with us from the UK and acquired one other at Decathlon within the Mall of Oman in Muscat the place additionally they promote grownup buoyancy aids.
Different issues to take to Wadi Bani Khalid
After visiting a number of wadis in Oman we’ve put collectively an inventory of urged issues to take alongside.
We’ve kicked ourselves a number of occasions for forgetting apparent issues and gadgets that make the expertise a lot simpler. However I feel we’ve now obtained the definitive listing.
When you don’t have already got a few of these important gadgets we’ve discovered the next outlets good for out of doors gear:
- The Sultan Centre, varied places in Muscat
- Decathlon within the Mall of Oman in Muscat
- Solar and Sand Sport in Avenues Mall, the Mall of Oman and Metropolis Centre Mall in Muscat. There’s additionally an outlet store in Markaz Al Bahja.
I’ve additionally included hyperlinks beneath the place you’ll be able to order this stuff on-line should you’re capable of plan far sufficient forward.
Listed here are some wadi staples to convey with you:
We’ve a rucksack that’s additionally a dry bag. We picked this up at a Sultan Centre store in Muscat and we take it with us in every single place now.
It’s straightforward to hold and sufficiently big for a lightweight towel, some snacks and water, goggles for the youngsters, and a primary assist equipment. It additionally doubles as a helpful flotation gadget.
You’ll be able to purchase it on-line*.
Convey a microfibre towel*. It’s a good suggestion to dry off a bit if you depart the swimming pools so you might be much less prone to slip on the best way again to the wadi entrance.
You want one thing small that received’t retain numerous water and change into heavy.
There’s numerous shade to be discovered within the wadi however not on a regular basis so shield your eyes with good sun shades.
For precisely the identical causes as you want sun shades, put on issue 50 solar cream in your face and physique. Even within the shade you’ll be choosing up rays.
I’m not a fan of placing my face within the water deliberately however my children adore it. Goggles enable them a distinct perspective on wadis so we all the time convey theirs.
Change of garments
In case you get your garments moist or soiled depart a spare set in your automobile.
Snacks and water
The place would us dad and mom be with out snacks for the youngsters?! Our go to snacks for mountain climbing journeys are apples and small packets of biscuits, which we are able to simply slip into our rucksack.
We regularly pack a picnic too because it means we are able to get meals into the youngsters quick after we get again to the automotive. A cool field and ice blocks are helpful for protecting meals contemporary in a sizzling automobile.
You’re going to wish a variety of water, however received’t essentially need to carry all of it with you.
Be certain everybody has a small bottle of water for the hike and depart some chilling in your automobile.
I don’t go anyplace in Oman with no packet tissues. You by no means know if public toilets could have any, particularly in additional rural areas the place squat bathrooms and bum weapons (hoses by the john) are the norm.
First assist equipment
One thing else we not often journey with out is our small first assist equipment. This has plasters, together with Compeeds, bug chunk cream and Panadol (paracetamol). That is what we feature with us.
We’ve one other first assist equipment* together with bandages in our automotive.
Greatest time to go to Wadi Bani Khalid
We visited on a Wednesday in February. It was our youngsters’s February half time period vacation and peak vacation season right here, however a lot of the different guests have been grownup vacationers.
We’ve been advised that on a weekend the wadi is a well-liked place for locals to go to and picnic too. So the optimum days to go are from Sunday to Thursday when there can be fewer locals and expats.
We arrived at 9.40am and there have been only a few autos within the automotive park. However by noon after we left the restaurant and automotive park have been full. Numerous organised excursions arrive from 10am.
If you wish to expertise Wadi Bani Khalid at its quietest arrive on the very starting or finish of the day. However don’t try the stroll or swim at midnight.
How lengthy do you want?
We spent two hours at Wadi Bani Khalid and this was loads of time to swim the size of the wadi and discover the cave.
Enable longer if you wish to do the identical after which eat on the restaurant.
Consuming at Wadi Bani Khalid
After we arrived again on the important amenities issues have been getting busy so we determined to seize lunch some other place.
The Assayil Mazeera restaurant again down within the city served quite a lot of cuisines and was nice worth.
Different schools at this wadi
There’s porta-loos within the automotive park – these value 400 baisa after we visited. There was additionally a cellular cafe within the automotive park promoting snacks and drinks.
Easy methods to get to Wadi Bani Khalid
It is a rather well sign-posted vacationer attraction which you could simply discover utilizing Google Maps or the Waze navigation app. Seek for ‘Wadi Bani Khalid parking space’ on both.
If you’re travelling from Muscat it is going to take three hours to achieve the wadi utilizing Freeway 15 and the Freeway 23.
You may also go to right here as a observe on from Wahiba Sands, Sur or the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve.
I’ve seen it urged which you could go to Wadi Bani Khalid in the identical day as Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi. This may be attainable should you have been staying in Sur however it will be very rushed. You’d actually not be capable of hike and swim at all of them, which is how you actually expertise these lovely locations.
And if you’re primarily based in Muscat, bagging these three well-known Oman wadis in at some point would contain at the very least eight hours of driving with out stepping outdoors your automobile. So I’d not suggest it.
Discovering the Wadi Bani Khalid parking space
If you’re following your nav app you’ll be directed by the city beneath the wadi and alongside a cement street that climbs up in the direction of the automotive park.
Right here’s the place to seek out the Wadi Bani Khalid parking space:
Parking is free. The lengthy automotive park has on and off street parking.
How a lot is Wadi Bani Khalid?
It’s free to go to Wadi Bani Khalid.
The bathrooms in automotive park value 400 baisa and the altering tents within the wadi value 100 baisa after we visited. Each are payable in money.
The place to remain close to Wadi Bani Khalid
We visited Wadi Bani Khalid from a desert camp in Wahiba Sands about an hour west.
The place to remain in Wahiba Sands
We booked Desert Retreat Camp* as we had our canine with us and it was the furthest dog-friendly camp into Wahiba Sands. We wished starry skies and big dunes, and it delivered on each.
Desert Retreat Camp is without doubt one of the bigger camps with an oval of 14 conventional goat hair tents, every with a non-public open roof lavatory.
Dinner and breakfast is included in your keep. You may also e-book actions like dune bashing and camel driving with the proprietor for an additional payment.
You’ll be able to learn extra about this and different locations we’ve stayed in my publish about our Oman street journey.
Extra locations to remain
There are in fact numerous different Wahiba Sands desert camps and lodging* starting from motels to fashionable glamping resorts. It received’t be arduous to seek out one which works for you.
You possibly can additionally e-book a non-public family-friendly villa* with swimming pool and splash park in Jadīd. That is an hour and 10 minutes south of the wadi and simply off Freeway 23 to Sur.
And the historic maritime city of Sur* additionally has loads of locations to remain. This could be an excellent place to remain in a single day should you have been on a street journey from Muscat and wished to see Wadi Shab and/or Wadi Tiwi earlier than Wadi Bani Khalid.
Extra studying about Oman
We moved to Oman in 2022 and are loving attending to know our new, dwelling.
Right here’s some extra posts I’ve written about Oman and expat life:
Try the #TinBoxOman hashtag on Instagram to see extra of our adventures.
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