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Published: October 12th 2015
We left Wahiba Sands and drove the inland route through to Nizwa, driving through the desolate landscape which was unremarkable yet had a stark beauty about it. Suddenly the barren mountains that we'd seen surrounding Muscat where back on the horizon and it wasn't long before we where in Niza, which we discovered is this years 'Islamic Capital of Culture'. We spent a few hours wandering Nizwa Fort, It offered wonderful views of the city hemmed in by mountains, with date palms and mosques rising over the residential buildings. Annoying at the wrong time of day at the souq was closed but vowed to return the next evening.
Nizwa and it's surrounds is famous for the many forts that dot the landscape and the next day we visited a couple more... first off was Jabrin Fort, out in the middle of nowhere, rising from the desert plain. Although built in the late 1600s it was in fabulous condition with wonderful detailing on the ceilings and intricate carvings onto the stone walls. Next up was Bahla Fort which overlooked the town of the same name, Whilst it was certainly the biggest of the three forts we visited in those 2 days,
it was the least interesting inside. That evening we headed back to Nizwa to wander the souq, and enjoyed dinner within the fortified walls of the old city.
The next morning we rose early and drove up to the village of Misfat. A traditional Omani village which hugs the mountainside, it is a labyrinth of alleys where one second you are enclosed on all sides and the next you are stepping out on gardens of mango trees. We talk a short walk following the irrigation channels, spying children cool off in the refreshing pools and greeting locals that we passed. We departed Misfat for Jebel Shams, Omans highest mountain. The peak itself is being used as a radar and weather station which is fine as we went for Wadi Ghul, known as the Grand Canyon of Arabia. We drove up as far as we could on the tarmac road, before hitching a ride with a local and his 4x4 to take us the rest of the way. We stopped at the canyons best viewpoint, and looked down! The ground plunged 1000 metres down to the canyon floor, it was a spectacular and dizzying sight. The canyon walls where almost
vertical yet we spied foolish goats, clinging to the side and searching for that tasty food that other goats aren't brave enough to reach!
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