The most-visited of Oman’s wadi, or river beds, Wadi Bani Khalid also is one of its easiest to access. Join locals at this picturesque oasis to swim in a string of natural aquamarine pools flanked by boulders and palms, and picnic along the rocky trails.
Two particularly popular spots at Wadi Bani Khalid are well-known here for their natural beauty: Moqal Cave and the crystal-clear natural pools at the wadi’s narrow end. A path from the parking lot leads to the biggest pool before the trail continues into an ever-narrowing valley where you will find smaller pools and a small cave system. Along the way, soak in the paradise-like scenery, stop for refreshments, and swim in the waters.
Alternatively, book a tour to Wadi Bani Khalid. The wadi is a popular day trip from Muscat, and typical tours incorporate 4WD transportation and a guide. Some tour options couple the wadi with a dune bash at the Wahiba Sands, or include it on multi-day Oman tours. These longer excursions can range from three to 10 days, or more, and cover an overview of Oman’s sights, such as Nizwa, Sur, and Wadi Shab.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bring comfortable shoes for walking the rocky wadi, and wet shoes for swimming.
- Men and women should wear long-sleeved T-shirts and shorts to respect local customs.
- Admission is free, and on-site facilities include a restaurant and restrooms.
- Wadi Bani Khalid is not suitable for wheelchairs and difficult to navigate with strollers.
How to Get There
Wadi Bani Khalid winds northwest from Oman’s Arabian Sea coastline near Al Ashkharah. The shortest route by car from Muscat is via Route 23, although the coastal Route 17 is considered more scenic. Book a guided tour to skip the hassle of arranging independent transportation. No public transit runs to the wadi.
When to Get There
Wadi Bani Khalid’s easy accessibility means it gets busy during Oman’s peak season from November to March, especially on Fridays and Saturdays. Other busy times include weekends and national holidays. Aim to arrive early or late on weekdays during the tourist season, when the weather is cooler and there are fewer crowds.
Making the Most of Wadi Bani Khalid
Get the most from your visit to Wadi Bani Khalid by continuing past the main pool to those beyond: These pools are more peaceful and dotted with waterfalls. Be ready to get a free pedicure in the wadi’s pools—the tiny fish in their waters often nibble toes. The trail also takes you to Muqal Cave, which you can enter to look around.