Jebel Shams is Oman’s highest peak, and at around 10,000 feet (or 3,000 meters) it makes a cool contrast to the baking coast. The regular road runs out about two-thirds the way up, so from there on in it’s 4-wheel-drive or, for the adventurous, hiking. Either way you’ll have stunning views of Wadi Nakhr, a dramatic canyon whose sheer walls drop down to a valley floor of tiny villages and date palm plantations.
Colorful rugs made using goat hair and natural dyes are a specialty of the region. There are also a number of eerie village ruins which testify to the difficulty of living in this fascinating yet challenging area.
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Jebel Shams can be accessed on a long day trip from Muscat, but a well-equipped campsite makes it a great place to stay over and enjoy the serenity of this remote area.