Qiyut to Ar Roos Traverse

  • Eastward from above Qiyut, early morning - © William Mackesy
  • Wadi Tanuf from lunchtime ledge - © William Mackesy
  • Wadi Tanuf - © William Mackesy
  • Wild donkeys - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • Eastward from above Qiyut, early morning - © William Mackesy
  • High ridge, looking north - © William Mackesy
  • High ridge, looking north - © William Mackesy
  • High ridge, looking east - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • High ridge, heading east - © William Mackesy
  • High ridge, heading east - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • Ancient wild olives - © William Mackesy
  • Wild donkeys - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • Civil war remains - © William Mackesy
  • Civil war remains - © William Mackesy
  • Natural sculpture - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • Into Wadi Tanuf from lunchtime ledge - © William Mackesy
  • Limestone pavement with millions of fossils - © William Mackesy
  • Limestone pavement with millions of fossils - © William Mackesy
  • Limestone pavement - © William Mackesy
  • Limestone pavement - © William Mackesy

Key information: Qiyut to Ar Roos Traverse

  • A superb traverse of the magnificent, broken high ridge of the central Akhdar range, with outstanding views over the chasm-wadis on its flanks.
  • One of the finest walks in Oman.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating89
  • Beauty32
  • Natural interest15
  • Human interest10
  • Charisma32
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating89

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 6 hrs
  • Maximum Altitude: 2,300m
  • Level of Difficulty: Difficult
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Wadi Tanuf from lunchtime ledge - © William Mackesy

WALK SUMMARY

There are various ways to walk the highlands of Jebel Al Akhdar, a central sub-range to the east of Jebel Shams.

The walk from Qiyut to the west, across the heart of the high area to the Ar Roos to the east, over or near summits of up to 2,450m, has exceptional views in many directions. This must be one of the best walks in Oman.

Start early from the joyless modern dwellings of Qiyut at 2,050m-ish. An immediate slog gets you to the flat top above, at something like 2,300m, the highest point of the trek. It will be rewarded with gorgeous views of landscape, ridges receding far to the east.

A long, steady descent down fine but rough slopes – looking quite grassy from a way off but actually mainly bare rock – then a short traverse will get you to the edge of the vast chasm of Wadi Bani Awf.

Thence another traverse behind the high ridgetop, round to another low valley head, from which you drop to a small, very flat plain poised between the high ridge and the huge hole of Wadi Bani Awf. A steady climb up the next slope takes you on to another pass in the rough high ridge, passing haunting evidence of the bitter civil war of the 1950s.

A traverse round a high bowl and a climb to the next pass gets you to another valley leading down to another big eroded bowl. Another rough descent gets you quite suddenly to the western rim of the remarkable Wadi Tanuf/ Wadi Al Qasha, another huge void but this time running south, with slopes of the Sayq Plateau on the far side. As your eyes get used to the enormity of the views, you notice the tiny grey blocks of an old village perched on a ledge deep in the inner canyon.

You circle round the bottom of the bowl and climb to a low ridge beside the canyon. This contains a real wonder: a long, sloping limestone pavement beside the gorge top stuffed with white, hard fossils shot through with veins of quartz (i.e. it has been deep inside the earth after it was seabed, and is now pushed up to approaching 2,000m). 

Away from the canyon rim, you cross a huge, broiling limestone pavement to the edge of a final canyon-bowl. Beyond that, a final rough hillside, gets you to Ar-Roos, which is a peculiar mix of humble vernacular huts, smart public buildings (tiny mosque, bath house, gorge-edge pavilion) and an uneasy-looking estate of dreary modern concrete boxes. 

Oman Trekking (Explorer) and Adventure Trekking in Oman (Anne Dale and Gerry Hadwin) have worthwhile sections on walking in this area. Recommended. Find relevant books on Amazon.

For more information and photos, including detailed practical information and some warnings, see our Jebel Akhdar and our Western Hajar Mountains walk page.

WILLIAM MACKESY'S ACCOUNT
of this walk

Walkopedia walked from Qiyut to the west, across the heart of the high area to the Ar Roos to the east, over or near summits of up to 2,450m, with exceptional views in many directions. This must be one of the best walks in Oman.

We started early, after a not-great night in a desolate campsite overlooking the joyless modern dwellings of Qiyut at 2,050m-ish. An immediate slog took us to the flat top above us, at something like 2,300m, the highest point of our trek. It felt dreary in the low-energy early morning, but wasn’t really that bad, and was rewarded with gorgeous views.....

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Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Wild donkeys - © William Mackesy

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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© William Mackesy...
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