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Another look at Wadi Bani Awf…

On our first attempt to traverse Wadi Bani Awf back in November, we realised that we'd taken the wrong route when it was a bit too late to turn back. Now, that wasn't a bad thing; it turned out that taking the wrong turning meant a beautiful drive over a high pass in Wadi Bani Awf with spectacular views across the Western Hajar and over the top of Snake Canyon. So when friends visited, I had to find what the second route across the wadis had in store.

As I'd done before, we started with a trip up to Wijmah in Wadi As Sahtan, under the shadow of Jebel Shams before taking one of the wadi passes through to Wadi Bani Awf. There's a pretty distinctive T-junction on the route, surrounded by tall cliff sides and a small patch of trees. Rustaq was off to the left, and Balad Sayt turning right. I'd done the route off to the right, so we headed left to find out what was further down the track.

The imaginatively named Rock Gap on the way to Wadi Bani Awf

The entrance to Snake Canyon

This route also took us past Little Snake Canyon, where we ended up doing a 10-point turn to get out again (!) and past the entrance for Snake Canyon as well. We were greeted at the entrance for Snake Canyon by a really friendly Omani family, who offered us food and drink at their picnic. Another tourist couple were already paying their respects to the family's hospitality, but seems as though we were running out of time, we had to politely accept their offer of some bottled water and carry on.

The rock breaks off into sharp needles that shatter when stepped on

The smooth boulders on the bed of Snake Canyon gives you a feel for the force of water that come down here during storms

As we got nearer to the end of the day, I was still hoping to find a wolf trap that the off road guide kept hinting to. Suppose I should be glad the traps weren't there any longer – would have meant they were still needed!

From here, the route we followed matched up with the previous one I'd done. I prefer the first route over the valley – there's a much better view across the mountains and the afternoon sun was amazing that day. However, on this route, there's a switch-back in the road, half-washed down into the wadi below, making the passage on the road a bit hairy. Each route had it's excitement!


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