Thrills & spills in Snake Canyon: Canyoning, hiking and offroading in Oman

Thrills & spills in Snake Canyon: Canyoning, hiking and offroading in Oman

I’m always keen to find an excuse to escape from the city, and my birthday provided the perfect opportunity to go a bit further than I perhaps would have done in the past. We took a trip out to Snake Canyon in Oman for the weekend and the five-hour drive was well worth it. We booked a trip with Oman Trekking Guides, which made things really easy for a group of our size (11)

What to expect:

  • A huge adrenaline rush! Jumping from high cliffs into icy pools – a few of us had more than a little wobble with at least one of the drops, but the guides provide a rope if people really can’t do it, and with a bit of peer encouragement, we all made every one!
  • A few bumps and bruises – natural water slides, eroded into the rock at just the right width to accommodate a thrill seeker are not the smoothest I’ve ever encountered!
  • Getting a little wet – wading through deep gorges with varying water levels and swimming through caves with low hanging stalactites tends to leave very few dry patches!
  • Breaking a sweat – climbing and scrambling over boulders at the bottom of the ravine is hard work, and requires teamwork!
  • To rough it – camping out in traditional Omani mountain huts is certainly not five-star, although having dinners cooked under the stars is a unique experience
  • To see some of the real Oman – long hikes up and down the mountains the following day provide dramatic views of real village life, oases, working falaj systems and palm gardens
  • A long drive there and back! Allow at least two nights to make it worth your while

Don’t forget:

  • Mosquito repellant
  • Two pairs of shoes as at least one will get wet! (Make sure that they are comfortable for lots of walking and have good grip)
  • A Camelbak to keep you hydrated and comfortable throughout the day (the guides provide water, but it was much more convenient to carry some yourself)
  • A good sleeping bag (the huts we stayed in actually had ac so temperature wasn’t an issue)
  • Suncream (waterproof, of course)
  • A waterproof camera to capture the many amusing and awe-inspiring shots
  • A dry bag so you can relax and ensure your things stay dry
  • Snacks and plenty of water (ours were provided by the guides)

We stayed the first night at Village Resort Motel (also known as Second Home) in Wadi Bani Awf which was a very basic motel but all we needed to get some sleep seeing as we arrived late and were picked up early. It was AED 250 per room per night but it saved us trying to put tents up at midnight, and we had 3-4 people sharing some of the rooms! The trip with Oman Trekking Tours was AED 470 per person and included a full day canyoning with two guides and a driver, a lovely hot lunch, freshly cooked and eaten in the gorge as we finished, snacks back at the hut accommodation (cakes, baklava, fruits, dates, tea and juices) then a freshly cooked dinner and more fruits, the night’s stay in mountain huts (we only needed our sleeping bags) with ac, a shower and toilet, breakfast in the morning and a guided four hour hike the next day with lunch – and drinks and snacks were on tap the whole time. We’re not sure of the exact location of the hike, which finished up in the village of Balad Sayt, but there are several options on Oman Tourism’s website for people looking to explore, and I would definitely recommend it – I’m already combing the company’s website for more ideas of bespoke tours they can do for us in future!