Adventure Time, Expat Life

Snake Canyon – Wadi Bani Awf

September 9, 2014
If you love adventures in the great outdoors, throwing your body off massive rocks for an adrenaline rush and contorting your body into small spaces then ‘Snake Canyon’ may just be the place for you!On impulse I signed myself up for a crazy expedition and persuaded a couple of friends that this was going to be a good idea. They really are trusting in my ideas!

As we left Muscat City in convoy even the Sat Nav had no idea where we were headed. We drove along “Route 13” for a couple of hours towards the Dakhiliyah Region and the Western Hajar mountains before heading off the main road and into the marvel that is Wadi Bani Awf.

Leaving the black top roads behind we drove towards the Canyon itself over the bumpy roads trailing clouds of dust billowing behind us. The natural, rugged landscape of Oman is always something that I find strikingly beautiful and Wadi Bani Awf is no exception.

The dust roads become narrower and more intimidating with less room to pass others vehicles as they hurtled past with sheer drops of cliff side just inches away. At this point I didn’t mind giving into the sexist stereotype and moved over to let one of the guys drive my car. Don’t attempt these roads in a saloon car, this is strictly 4×4 territory!

Reaching the rendezvous point we were issued and fitted our safety gear and briefed on what to expect.
Our tour guide, Justin, is a key figure in Oman’s search and rescue squad and is all too familiar with these trips and the hazards involved. We couldn’t be in safer hands with Justin guiding us.

Suited and booted we headed off into the mouth of the canyon unaware of just what exciting adventures lay ahead.

As this was just the very beginning of the outdoors season (5th Sept) in Oman the water levels in some of the water pools were not favorable for us to safely make large jumps. Instead we abseiled down the rock face which brought a whole new set of challenges….And rope burns – Ouch!

From the very first pool of water we were treated to a diverse array of local wildlife from creepy crawlies, dragonflies, fish, hundreds of toads to the less appealing leeches and bats. And of course a trip to ‘Snake Canyon’ wouldn’t be complete without a slithery friend also!

It really does get your heart pumping when jumping from even a couple of meters high when you don’t know what is under the water – How deep will it be? Will there be rocks? Will I get a leech in my shoe? All real thoughts in my head.

Once you commit to entering the canyon there is literally no way back out of your own power – unless you are Spiderman – until you reach the end. That was the driving force pushing me on to complete the tasks and overcome the huge obstacles that I may have wimped out of otherwise.

During one narrow descent Justin was very adamant that we listen to his instructions clearly and failure to do so could easily result in broken hips – now that put the fear of God into me! I put every single toe exactly where he told me to.

I love this picture of me sliding down the rock!

On the course briefing we were advised to wear safe footwear like trainers/sneakers, I chose to wear lightweight, flexible Skechers shoes which would be comfortable to get wet – BIG mistake! My shoes didn’t have enough grip and I found myself sliding down the algae covered rocks and struggling to regain footing. The flexible rubber was not upto the job of protecting from the spikes of tough mountain trees which resulted in a spike through the foot. Yelp! If you do this trip then please wear shoes with proper grip and a tough sole.

One by one the adventurers line up for their turn at throwing their bodies from a height. Reaching the edge and looking down every single one of them has a slight ‘eeek’ moment, it is actually a lot higher than first expected. As they splash into the water below and reemerge the smiles are beaming from their faces.

We are weathered and tired but not yet beaten as we pose for a photo before powering on to the end. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?!

For hours we swam, leaped, squeezed and crunched but eventually we reached the end point. Sweaty and exhausted we exited the canyon smiling at our massive accomplishment!

Exiting the Canyon with smiles on our faces

Muscles in my body that had lain dormant for a looong time still ache days later and my limbs are patched with bruises but my enthusiasm for Snake Canyon has not dwindled – I cannot wait to return and take on the challenge again. Next time I want to do it bigger, better and faster!

This adventure is not for the faint hearted! I would highly recommend that you take a guide or at least someone who is very familiar with the area. The potential for sprains and breaks in here is high. Adventurers, you should always ensure that you have a decent level of fitness, be able to swim fully clothed and check the weather forecast before setting off.

For this adventure and others search “Oman Adventure” on Facebook to find the tour group or visit www.holiday-in-oman.com

Happy adventuring! 

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5 Comments

  • Reply Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) September 10, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    That looks like so much fun!!!!

    So long as you make sure of the weather (no rain in the mountains) Snake canyon is awesome. But the wadi rises up in an instant if it it raining, and people drown so know your weather before going out…

    • Reply Heather Duncan September 10, 2014 at 8:50 AM

      I totally agree, this is not a safe place to be if there is rain. I read about the Dubai tourists who were stuck in there for a night perched on a ledge. In general the morning is a better time to start than the afternoons due to the weather also.

      It was a fab adventure though and so glad I did it 🙂

  • Reply Sarah November 15, 2016 at 9:42 PM

    Thanks so much for your post – we’re hoping to hit Snake Canyon in the coming weeks so it was a great help. Big waves from Abu Dhabi!

  • Reply Martine September 20, 2017 at 9:44 AM

    Hi!

    It looks amazing! Do you have the contact information for the guide?

    Best regards,
    Martine

    • Reply Heather September 24, 2017 at 3:08 PM

      Hey Martine, It was a fab trip indeed – hopefully I will go back again soon and do it all over again. The guide I used is now working the company Twenty Three Extreme so I would recommend looking them up and asking for Justin 🙂 All the best!

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