The Hajar Mountains are a range in Northern Oman running to the south of the Al Batinah Coast.
The Hajjar Mountains are in the region known as Al Dakhiliya (“The Interior”). The mountain range stretches across the country and includes many small towns, amazing geological formations and the highest mountain in Oman, Jebel Shams.
The road from Muscat to Nizwa takes you directly into the Hajjar mountains. The road is excellent and aside from leaving Muscat, there is not much traffic. The road winds its way between large mountains as you enter the Hajjar region. Nizwa is a good base for exploring this region.
There are only a handful of buses daily from Muscat to Nizwa - as you will need a car to get around the mountain region, hiring one in Muscat is a better option.
A 4WD car is recommended for exploring this area.
The mountains are home to many wadis, canyons, small mountain villages and ancient ruins.
- Wadi Ghul is the bottom of the "Grand Canyon" under Jebel Shams (see below). Drive up the wadi (4WD required) or walk to reach a plantation of palm trees and magnificent views of the canyon.
- Snake Gorge canyon is a narrow canyon in the heard of the mountains, reachable after driving a very steep mountain road for about an hour.
- Wadi Tanuf
- The Al Ayn and Bat archeological sites comprises old tombs and towers dating from the 3rd millenium BC, made of bricks and rocks.
Driving up to Jebel Shams is a worthwhile day trip from Nizwa or Al Hamra - this spectacular mountain and massive canyon is quite spectacular.
Around 1.5+ hours from Nizwa by 4WD only up the partially sealed road - follow the signs to Jebel Shams Resort which sits atop the plateau. Lots of photo opportunities for car travelers along the plateau, but if you want to do some exhilarating hiking, continue past the resort to the tiny town (a few houses really) of Khateem.
This is where the famous Balcony Walk begins. The return walk is around 3 hours and snakes along the rim of massive cliffs over 1km high, with extraordinary views across the canyon. The route is clearly marked but you should be prepared for rock scrambling and good shoes are necessary. Definitely not a walk for the faint hearted or those with fear of heights.
There is a longer hiking route up to the southern summit of Jebel Shams which is a full day walk (9-12 hours).
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