Key information: Musandam Peninsula
- Remote Musandam in northernmost Oman is actually two distinct areas; its dramatic upland interior a stark contrast with the peninsula’s sprawling fjords and intimate creeks..
- Drink in the landscape’s hues along ancient drovers’ trails and dried-up water channels to towns and hill forts centuries abandoned. Walking here varies from precipitous ridgetops, to serious climbs, to intense multi-day treks into shattered rock wilderness.
- Walkopedia rating0
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- Length: Variable
- Maximum Altitude: 2,000m+
- Level of Difficulty: Variable
This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.
There are just two major roads into Oman's northern Musandam region, which is completely detached from the rest of the country by a wide band of the UAE.
It is, however, linked. The steep slopes that start their climb out of the sea in Musandam form a spine reaching all the way down to the capital, Muscat, and beyond – the Hajar Mountains [Link]. In the north, these soaring ridges and deep valleys produce the sparkling fjords of the beautiful Musandam Peninsula; its southern ranges, the highest in the eastern Arabian Peninsula, divide Oman's low coastal plains from its desert regions.
While stark is the buzzword here, Musandam’s fjords are still every bit as spectacular as their famous Norwegian cousins, rocky highlands tumbling hundreds of metres down into crystal waters.
Up north it's a road much less travelled. Towns are few and far between. Roads are vertiginous, rare and mostly dirt track.
Walks very from a few hours to multi-days.
Official paths are virtually non-existant, although there are local trekking companies based either in the region's capital, Khasab, or in the small town of Dibba.
While you can forge your own path, or follow ancient hill tracks 2,000m and more into the sky, it's probably best to get help on board before you start.
Guides and organized expeditions are useful, especially because the peninsula is so desolate and so isolated that you can need a boat to get to the starting points and end points of some of the best treks.
Valiant and experienced orienteerers can still go it alone. Perhaps try Plage to Plage walks from one of the peninsula's numbered beaches to another; either contour round following the coast (once you've gained some height) or find a walkable pass over the spine of hills separating cove from cove.
Alternatively, keep it more sedate with a ramble around the peninsula's only national park; venturing inland from its eponymous Warm Beach and returning to those cooling waters once you've had your fill or just got too hot.
Straying off the peninsula-proper but keeping within Musandam, try a climb up desolate wadis that seemingly end in a wall of red stone to the very top of Jebel Harim (2,087m) – and discover lush, richly cultivated 'hidden' valleys near its mountaintop.
However, you should understand that treks touting “Musandam” don't actually guarantee fjords (khors). They could equally talking about its upland interior.
Also in Musandam's locker:
- Shikuh Village Trek: Explore high-up villages – legacy of the once ferocious Shihuh tribe, hidden amongst upland wadis and ridges (www.adventure.ae/local-adventures/trekking/village-trek/)
- Smuggler Bays – where people not cargo were ferried out of Iran via the narrow Strait of Hormuz (www.adventure.ae/local-adventures/trekking/smugglers-bay/)
- Jebel Qihwi – a tough walk up one of Musandam’s highest mountains with plummeting views down deep Wadis(www.adventure.ae/local-adventures/trekking/jebel-qihwi-climb/)
- Find Sal Hamdan Village atop steep trail – with its terraced fields, ancient homes and petroglyphs (www.adventure.ae/local-adventures/trekking/explore-sal-hamdan/)
All this, amidst a landscape describing almost 800 million years of geology. While it might seem bare, it's also beautiful, with deep canyons leading to unlooked-for oases, and surprising numbers of alien vegetation clinging to life in shade and shelter. Even looking down into the sea from high up you're likely to spot vivid coral reefs, on both the Persian Gulf side and the Gulf of Oman side.
As with all things, the trick is simply picking the right jaunt, hack or meander for your needs; or trek, climb and yomp for the more adventurous! Have a look at TripAdvisor – there are tens of millions of reviews, so you may get good, current views on walks here.
It gets hot here, really hot in the middle of the day, and we're talking temperatures up to 50C in summer. Not something you want to be lost in!
Other accounts: share your experiences
Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
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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