Natural wonders of Oman: Wadi Mibam, a fast-rising star amongst wadis

    09 Jun 2021

    It’s easy to miss Wadi Mibam. In fact, a lot of people still make the same mistake. After driving to Wadi Tiwi and reaching what seemed to be the end of the road that leads to a small village dotted with palms, many turn back disappointed that the pools are not even deep.

    But Wadi Mibam is located more inwards into the heart of the Tiwi mountains, located at the far edge of Wadi Tiwi itself.

    According to Oman Observer article, from the village in Tiwi that guards the entrance towards the mountains, the drive becomes even rougher and it is filled with different levels of thrill as the rough road cuts through other sleepy villages, barren mountains, rocky wadis and harrowing cliffs. From Wadi Tiwi, it’s still another 30 minutes drive forward — covering a total of around 160 km from Muscat.

    Wadi Mibam took a life of its own in the last five years and has now started to emerge as one of the must-visit, most beautiful wadis in Oman. It’s a reputation well-deserved because, despite its barely 5 km stretch, it is packed with all the adventures and beautiful scenes you can ever imagine.

    I first visited Wadi Mibam in 2016 and back then, there was no proper pathway in between the gardens. There were no stairs leading down the waterfall. There was no rope that you can climb down. It was a rawer experience — just nature with its intimidating canyon almost unnoticeable from a bird’s eye view because of the lush canopy of date palms and vegetations. Back then, the adventure was unforgiving and abseiling was necessary. The rocks were slippery but it was also at its most pristine.

    After five years, while the surrounding area nearly remains the same, Wadi Mibam itself has gone through dramatic improvements thanks to the combined effort of its villagers, the municipality, and the Ministry of Tourism who understand its potential as a tourist destination.

    Owing its name from the village where one starts the hike, Wadi Mibam technically is still part of Wadi Tiwi. The villagers of Mibam rely on agriculture for their day-to-day living. They carved out their homes in cliffs and thanks to the abundance of water, managed to transform what has been a barren mountain into an oasis teeming with greenery. Other than the dates, they also plant different kinds of root crops and fruit-bearing trees, and even the pathway leading to the waterfall is peppered with different varieties of citrus trees.

    A visit to Wadi Mibam today would yield a friendlier adventure. You would still have to pass through the gardens tracing edges of the falaj along the way but the hike eventually opens up to a paved pathway that takes you to concrete stairs directly into the wadi’s highest waterfall. From this waterfall, a few meters down, you will find a rope that aids you as you abseil down. Several meters ahead, you would have to swim your first round of pool — already looking beautiful with its emerald crystal clear waters. There are a series of pools you have to swim on until you reach the last big pool — in itself the rediscovered paradise.

    When I first saw Wadi Mibam in 2016, it took my breath away. Never have I seen such a pristine nature hidden in Oman’s daunting canyon. From below, the cliffs serve as giant walls protecting the pools hidden in the middle from the harsh elements and the sun.

    I said it then and I’ll say it again now. Wadi Mibam is the most beautiful wadi in Oman. I stand by that claim. Not only is it shorter and easier to hike and venture to, it has everything you can ask for — a good place for a day tour.

    As a word of caution, Wadi Mibam is still a wadi and comes with its unique challenges and risks so it’s advisable to visit it the first time with experienced teammates.

    I will personally urge you to take a trip and explore its many hidden wonders. By the time you’re finished, you will probably come to share the same sentiment — that Mibam is the fast-rising star amongst Oman’s wadis.

    What is Wadi? This is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley. In some instances, it may refer to a dry (ephemeral) riverbed that contains water only when heavy rain occurs.

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