Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Wadi Bani Khalid: is it price visiting?

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In case you are on the lookout for a ravishing wadi in Oman the place you may discover and swim simply then Wadi Bani Khalid is the place to go.

It’s simply accessible, is heated by a scorching spring and has customer services.

Nevertheless, as you may count on, it’s no secret.

A view back towards the facilities of the wadi where its possible to see more people gathering at around lunchtime

Wadi Khalid is probably the most accessible but in addition probably the most industrial of the well-known wadis we now have 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 may determine for yourselves whether or not you wish 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?

Father and two daughters swim in the clear waters of Wadi Bani Khalid with the rocks walls of the valley rising up behind them

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, nevertheless it was positively price a go to.

It has massive heat swimming pools for swimming lower than a ten minute, simple stroll from the automobile park.

For extra journey and to flee probably the most touristy areas, you may swim a for much longer part of the wadi. It’s also possible to stroll a rocky path alongside the facet of the wadi and keep away from swimming altogether whereas nonetheless appreciating fantastic views of the clear water beneath.

Someplace that fewer individuals discover is a cave which is 1km into Wadi Khalid. You possibly can 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 automobile park you’re taking a raised concrete path with date palms on both facet.

Father and two daughters walk along a raised concrete path with path trees on either side

After 5 minutes this turns right into a slim stroll alongside facet an irrigation channel. Simply comply with the yellow, white and purple markers painted on the rocks.

Father and two daughters walk along the side of an irrigation system with palm trees down one side

And that’s as sophisticated 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.

This can be a place to calm down, have your toes nibbled by small fish within the water or go for a swim. It’s simply accessible with younger youngsters (though pushchairs wouldn’t make it) and people who don’t need a correct hike.

A view into the valley showing the first pool and the way towards the wadi walk. The family walks in the foreground on the right

When you’re eager to discover additional keep on the proper facet the place you’ll spot an indication saying ‘Muqal Cave 1km’.

A brown sign on poles with 'Muqal Cave 1km' written on it in Arabic and English

That is the much less trodden path at Wadi Bani Khalid, not as a result of it’s laborious, however as a result of most guests don’t come right here for very lengthy.

The trail above the wadi is effectively marked however there are just a few uneven sections, slippy rocks and algae lined streams to cross.

However if you’re carrying sturdy footwear, not flip flops, it’s not too difficult. Stairs have been in-built locations to make the stroll simpler, however you continue to must thoughts your step.

Child walking down concrete steps that have been built into the side f the valley to make it easier to access
Father and daughter wave while treading water in a deep turquoise pool of water with the sand coloured valley walls rising up around them

The stroll above the wadi provides you fantastic views of the turquoise water beneath.

The trail is kind of extensive however there’s no security rail between you and a protracted drop into the wadi in some locations. Maintain the palms of youthful youngsters so you realize the place they’re always.

After a 5 minute average hike the trail comes down to fulfill the water.

A tall brown toilet tent with a printed sign on the front instructing people to use it to change

This second swimming spot has tents which you should utilize for turning into swimwear. There was an honesty field requesting 100 baisa (about 25p) once we visited.

The pool right here is shallow, heat and ideally suited for a fast dip. There have been numerous individuals on this small space and a few of them needed to speak to our canine, so I didn’t get an image.

From right here you may proceed swimming up the wadi although deeper sections or stroll over some rocks and throughout a shallow part of operating water in the direction of the doorway of Muqal Cave, also referred to as 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 scorching spring – the supply of Wadi Bani Khalid’s heat waters.

Nevertheless, as with all pure points of interest in Oman, your well being and security is your personal duty. An identical website within the UK would both be closed to guests or solely be open for guided excursions with laborious hats and different security tools.

We determined to duck inside primarily based on the truth that different individuals have been popping out wanting fairly pleased.

Beneath is what we skilled at Muqal Cave that can assist you determine whether or not it’s one thing you’d prefer to see.

Girl wearing a buoyancy aid and swimwear walks up a concrete ramp built into the side of the valley wall

The doorway to the cave is up a slim concrete ramp. Once we acquired to the highest we weren’t too certain what we have been or what we’d discover inside. Except for 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.

Family slithering into the low mouth of Cave Muqal at Wadi Bani Khalid
The doorway to Muqal Cave is extraordinarily slim. Are you able to see our canine main the best way?

The cave is dry however you’ll come out dripping with sweat as a result of the environment is so humid.

It wasn’t doable for us to face up straight for fairly just a few meters and once 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 scorching air and the sound of dashing water within the cave beneath.

It was at this level that we realised in regards to the scorching 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 should have missed the one which led to the spring.

After 10 minutes my eldest was feeling a bit claustrophobic so we rotated and returned to the doorway.

When you fancy visiting Muqal Cave put on research footwear and garments you don’t thoughts getting soiled. Additionally deliver a torch and take it slowly. We bumped our heads in just a few locations.

You’ll additionally want a drink of water and one other swim once you emerge – it’s like a sauna.

Ideas for swimming in Wadi Bani Khalid

In addition to the primary set of swimming pools Mr Tin Field and our ladies 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 swimming wear at our camp in Wahiba Sands!

Mr Tin Box and daughter about to enter the waters of wadi Bani Khalid just beyond the first pool and restaurant area
This can be a good place to enter the wadi when you intend to swim past the primary pool

The rock slopes down into the water making it simple to get in. Simply be cautious of slippery algae beneath the waterline.

The wadi has some very deep sections and locations the place you’ll want to scramble over rocks or small waterfalls to progress. This will also be slippy work. See the part beneath on what to put on for our tips about footwear.

Father and daughter walk carefully along a sloped surface of the wadi to get between pools of water

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 automobile park and once more once you attain the primary swimming pools are a lifeless giveaway.

They inform you what you might be anticipated to put on and about acceptable behaviour at Wadi Bani Khalid so that you respect native customs.

Two brown signs with guidance about what men and women should wear to visit and swim in Wadi Bani Khalid

Conservative out of doors clothes

Oman is a Muslim nation the place dressing conservatively is a authorized requirement. Generally you must 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 terms of the swimming we’d suggest rash vests with brief sleeves* and swim shorts*. These might be worn beneath different clothes and in addition assist to guard towards the solar.

Sturdy footwear 

We all the time put on strolling sandals that we will use in water once we go to wadis. This protects carrying additional water footwear which might be important for stoney and slippery sections.

The women and I all have KEEN footwear, which have grippy soles for strolling and have been out and in of the water extra instances than I can rely.

The youngsters at the moment have KEEN Unisex Child’s Verano Open Toe Sandals* and I’ve had a pair of KEEN path footwear 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 effectively as the women have had smaller variations prior to now. The youngsters all the time develop out of KEEN footwear earlier than they put on them out, so we regularly move them on.

Buoyancy aids

Mr Tin Box and daughters standing knee deep in the clear waters of Wadi Bani Khalid with large boulders towering above them

Your well being and security is your personal duty whichever wadi you go to. For this reason we began bringing alongside buoyancy aids to each wadi the place we intend to swim.

Accidents can occur rapidly, significantly slip ups. So when you fall over in water it’s a lot better that you simply float.

We introduced one of many youngsters’ buoyancy aids with us from the UK and purchased 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 a listing of instructed issues to take alongside.

We’ve kicked ourselves just a few instances for forgetting apparent issues and gadgets that make the expertise a lot simpler. However I believe we’ve now acquired the definitive checklist.

When you don’t have already got a few of these important gadgets we’ve discovered the next retailers good for out of doors gear:

  • The Sultan Centre, numerous 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 may order this stuff on-line when you’re capable of plan far sufficient forward.

Listed below are some wadi staples to deliver with you:

Dry bag

Mr Tin Box wades into the first turquoise pool in Wadi Shab.
Image of our bag in use at Wadi Shab for illustrative functions

Now we have 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 simple to hold and sufficiently big for a lightweight towel, some snacks and water, goggles for the children, and a primary assist package. It additionally doubles as a helpful flotation system.

You possibly can purchase it on-line*.


Convey a microfibre towel*. It’s a good suggestion to dry off a bit once 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 turn out to be heavy.

Solar glasses

There’s numerous shade to be discovered within the wadi however not on a regular basis so shield your eyes with good sun shades.

Solar cream

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 youngsters adore it. Goggles permit them a distinct perspective on wadis so we all the time deliver theirs.

Change of garments

In case you get your garments moist or soiled depart a spare set in your car.

Snacks and water

The place would us dad and mom be with out snacks for the children?! Our go to snacks for climbing journeys are apples and small packets of biscuits, which we will simply slip into our rucksack.

We regularly pack a picnic too because it means we will get meals into the children quick once we get again to the automobile. A cool field and ice blocks are useful for holding meals contemporary in a scorching car.


You’re going to wish loads of water, however received’t essentially wish to carry all of it with you.

Be certain that everybody has a small bottle of water for the hike and depart some chilling in your car.


I don’t go anyplace in Oman with out a packet tissues. You by no means know if public toilets may have any, particularly in additional rural areas the place squat bathrooms and bum weapons (hoses by the john) are the norm.

First assist package

One thing else we hardly ever journey with out is our small first assist package. This has plasters, together with Compeeds, bug chew cream and Panadol (paracetamol). That is what we feature with us.

Now we have one other first assist package* together with bandages in our automobile.

Finest 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 will probably be fewer locals and expats.

We arrived at 9.40am and there have been just some automobiles within the automobile park. However by noon once we left the restaurant and automobile park have been full. Numerous organised excursions arrive from 10am.

Photo taken through the front windscreen of our car as we drive thought the parking area at Wadi Bani Khalid. Bot sides of the car park are lined with vehicles
Vehicles that arrived after us.

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

A view of the restaurant at Wadi Bani Khalid over the waters of the first pool.
The restaurant at Wadi Bani Khalid.

Once we arrived again on the predominant services issues have been getting busy so we determined to seize lunch someplace else.

The Assayil Mazeera restaurant again down within the city served a wide range of cuisines and was nice worth.

Different schools at this wadi

There’s porta-loos within the automobile park – these price 400 baisa once we visited. There was additionally a cell cafe within the automobile park promoting snacks and drinks.

Methods to get to Wadi Bani Khalid

This can be a very well sign-posted vacationer attraction you can simply discover utilizing Google Maps or the Waze navigation app. Seek for ‘Wadi Bani Khalid parking space’ on both.

In case you are travelling from Muscat it’ll take three hours to achieve the wadi utilizing Freeway 15 and the Freeway 23.

You may additionally go to right here as a comply with on from Wahiba Sands, Sur or the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve.

I’ve seen it instructed you can go to Wadi Bani Khalid in the identical day as Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi. This is likely to be doable when you have been staying in Sur however it will be very rushed. You’d definitely not have the ability to hike and swim at all of them, which is how you actually expertise these stunning locations.

And if you’re primarily based in Muscat, bagging these three well-known Oman wadis in in the future would contain at the very least eight hours of driving with out stepping exterior your car. So I’d not suggest it.

Discovering the Wadi Bani Khalid parking space

In case you are following your nav app you’ll be directed by way of the city beneath the wadi and alongside a cement street that climbs up in the direction of the automobile park.

A photo taken out of the front windscreen of our car as we drive up a concrete mountain road towards Wadi Bani Khalid
The street to the wadi parking space is accessible with two wheel drive automobiles.

Right here’s the place to seek out the Wadi Bani Khalid parking space:

Parking is free. The lengthy automobile 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 automobile park price 400 baisa and the altering tents within the wadi price 100 baisa once 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 needed starry skies and large dunes, and it delivered on each.

Oval of traditional bedouin black and white striped tents in the Wahiba Sands desert, Oman. Picture is taken from above on a dune at sunset
This camp backs on to a big dune, which we climbed each evenings.

Desert Retreat Camp is among the bigger camps with an oval of 14 conventional goat hair tents, every with a non-public open roof lavatory.

Traditional bedouin black and white striped tent in the orange sands of Wahiba Sands desert

Dinner and breakfast is included in your keep. It’s also possible to e book actions like dune bashing and camel using with the proprietor for an additional charge.

You possibly can learn extra about this and different locations we now have stayed in my submit about our Oman street journey.

Extra locations to remain

There are in fact numerous different Wahiba Sands desert camps and lodging* starting from resorts to fashionable glamping resorts. It received’t be laborious to seek out one which works for you.

You may 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 may be an excellent place to remain in a single day when you have been on a street journey from Muscat and needed 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:

Take a look at the #TinBoxOman hashtag on Instagram to see extra of our adventures.

Disclosure: this submit incorporates affiliate hyperlinks marked with *. When you click on on one in all these and make a purchase order I could earn some fee. This doesn’t have an effect on the worth you pay.

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