Being the biggest, deepest, or longest doesn’t necessarily make something the best; Grand Canyon Oman isn’t a mile deep, or a mile wide, but it still demonstrates the creative splendour of Mother Nature, the architect.
On the day we visited there weren’t any mule trains, or trekkers making their way up, and down, it’s unlikely it’s as popular as a slightly better publicised Grand Canyon. Probably not merely the result of a more professional marketing campaign, but visitors to this unexpected natural wonder are surely equally as impressed.
In the subdued light of a desert evening, with the threat of a distant storm driving, huge clouds skidding across the darkening sky it was attracting a number of visitors.
With the sunlight fading, several cars pulled up, their passengers spilling out eagerly on to the rough, gravel car park, keen to witness sunset over an unheralded wonder of nature. Judging by the respect they were giving the steep-sided gorge, they were suitably impressed.
The shadows of towering clouds crept across the craggy terrain of the massive scar on the Omani landscape. An inky blanket filling each cleft, every ravine of the gorge, adding texture to the scenery, and contrasting with the soft, golden glow of the setting sun.
This is the junction between Wadi Ghul, and Wadi Nakhar, in the Nakhar Canyon, and located 2000m up the road from Nizwa on the way to Jabal Shams, the highest peak in the Sultanate. Standing on the edge, and peering down into the depths of the huge ravine, is quite breath-taking, and it’s well worth exploring, rock hopping to take the choice views.
Look carefully and it’s possible to see fossils of sea creatures which roamed the oceans when this was a sea bed many millions of years ago, but eventually the gaze always returns to the canyon. Our little group had spread far, and wide along the rim of the canyon, our guide, Suleiman keeping a careful eye on those that ventured a little too close to the edge; yes, me.
We probably dwelled slightly too long here, enthralled by the stunning landscape, enjoying the last drops of warmth from the receding daylight, and taking dozens of images between us. This meant we missed sunset at the accommodation for the night, the aptly named “The View”, never mind, sunrise didn’t disappoint, and was well worth the bumpy ride up in the all terrain vehicle.
Close to the parking area, there is also a small stone built store, where three women sell locally made souvenirs, and bottled water daily. It appears a lonely building, in the middle of the Omani mountains, nearby there is also a doorway, built into the front of another stone shack. This one almost blends with the rocky surroundings, and was possibly a dwelling, though maybe just a place to escape the heat of the day.
Even as the sun was sinking below the horizon, and the chill of a desert evening began to set in, more cars appeared, parking long enough for the human cargo to relish the final moments of daylight. We were already back in the car, there wasn’t much conversation, after experiencing Grand Canyon Oman, one of nature’s grand designs, words seemed superfluous, and the bumpy track was barely noticed.
I visited the Grand Canyon Oman as a guest of the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Tourism, but as always these are my own opinions.