Thursday, February 6, 2014

Snake canyon

One of the things that has been on the "bucket list" since arriving in Oman is to go canyoning in Snake Canyon. Snake Canyon is a narrow gorge in Wadi Bank Awf, which gets its name from the way it winds its way through the Al Hajar mountains (rather than being full of live snakes!).

We met up with our guide Rob from Oman Adventure early doors before setting off on the 2 hour drive to the start of the trail. There were 6 of us on the trip, Jen and I, friends Gill, Dawn and Amy and another girl Kristal. We left one of the cars at the bottom of the canyon (and remembering to take the keys with us!) we drove the other 2 up to the starting point which is about a 10 minute drive away and got kitted up. 

We were very fortunate that there had been some rain in the week preceding our trip so the pools were quite full. However, due to the rains the depth of the pools had also changed due to rocks and silt being washed down. After a 5 minute walk into the start of the canyon, Rob took the plunge first to test the depth of the water and once we all took the initial plunge we were committed to keep going as climbing back up the algae covered soft rock is near impossible.

The walk through the canyon involves hiking, jumping, climbing and sliding across and over rocks.

There are 2 main walks through the canyon. They have different starting points, but come together in the middle for the final section. When we reached the point where the 2 meet, we decided to take a walk into this area of the canyon to see what the next trip would be like. Just a few minutes walk in there is  a rock about 6m tall, just asking to be jumped off. 

This was a great day out and I'd highly recommend to anyone with a sense of adventure. Bring on the next Snake Canyon trip.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Camping - bedouin style

Before we went to Petra, we spoke with friends who'd visited earlier in the year and had been guided by Abdullah. They'd said that the highlight of their trip was a trip to the top of a mountain to watch the sun setting over Petra. On this recommendation we asked Abdullah to arrange something special for us. However, there must have been something lost in translation as rather than taking a leisurely stroll to sit and watch the sun set over Petra, we ended up on a traditional bedouin camping experience. 

This involved being collected by Abdullah's mates in an old Hilux, (with the three of us squashed in the back) and being driven for about 30 minutes to the edge of the park. Once at the edge of the park, we were given a sleeping bag each and had to walk for about an hour up the side of a mountain to around 1300m. The rest of the kit for the night followed behind on 2 donkeys.

The mountain that we climbed, Jabal Harun, was allegedly the site where Moses' brother, Aaron was buried. I'm not sure if sleeping on someone's grave was supposed to be the highlight of the tour, or just an added bonus!

Anyway, despite the longer than expected hike, we made it to the top in time for sunset. Just. 

This is just a short description of the trip, but sometimes, what happens on holiday, stays on holiday. Isn't that right Barry?!!!


I knew before we came here that Petra was one of the places that you had to visit when you were in Jordan, but other than it being one of the places that Indian Jones was filmed and from what I'd seen on "An Idiot Abroad", I knew nothing else.

For the history buffs (this shows I was listening a little bit) - Petra is a city which has been created by carving buildings into the side of the rose-red sandstone mountains by the Nabateans over 2,000 years ago. 

We set off at 7am in the morning and having collected our tickets, we were able to enter the site. There is a long walk from the main gate down to the actual entrance to Petra. There are guys offering to take you down on an Arab stallion, but our guide Abdullah assured us that we should wait as there's much more fun inside waiting for us.

We had a full day walking around the various main points of interest. Here are a few photos of this amazing place. I've also uploaded a video of the surprise that Abdullah arranged for us.

The remains of a camel & trader carving

Our first glimpse of the Treasury

The Treasury

So, according to Abdullah the best view of the Treasury is from above, but as a 'special treat' he'd arranged for donkeys for us to save our legs. I think Barry's donkey drew the short straw!

Can you see the camels' head?

The Monastery

A little glimpse of the donkey ride