The Hajar Mountains are located close to Nizwa and South of Muscat down the middle of Oman. This is a large governate, and covers some of the most majestic mountains in the GCC and the highest mountains in Oman. If you only have a short time in Oman, I recommend you to visit at least one of the mountains here (Jebal Shams or Jebal Akhdar). Below are some itineraries and a guide to get you there.
Trip start: Muscat, Oman
Take the Nizwa Road not far from the Muscat Airport towards Nizwa, then follow the signs to Jebal Shams. (Or Jabel Shams). If you go on a Friday, go early and head to the Nizwa Souq to see the auction before heading to the mountain. (Jebal means mountain)
My Schedule: Day 1
Day 1: leave Muscat at 5AM- ouch! (1 hour and 45 min. to Nizwa)
7:00-Nizwa animal auction, Nizwa Souq
8:30- Nizwa Castle
9:30- Begin Journey to Jebal Shams (I hour and 45 minutes from Nizwa)
If you want to fit in the Misfit Al Abriyyin area, do it here after passing Nizwa (52 minutes away, spend 1.5 hours then head up the mountain)
14:30- Balcony Walk Hike (W3 hike trail) – easy hike with amazing views!
18:00- camping set up
18:30- sunset watch then dinner
6:30 -Up early! Pack and quick breakfast
7:30- heading down the mountain
8:00- Exit right to the cliff view, photos ¾ way down the mountain
Base of Jebal Shams- drive into the wadi to Al Nukr (45 min. drive down the mountain)
8:45- Hiking at the old village, Al Nukhr- rocky and some difficult terrains (W6a Trek)
10:30- Drive through the wadi for a short trip- it’s closed at the end now
11:00- Head towards Nizwa, exit left to Birkat Al Mouz (30 minute drive)
11:30- right side Birkat Al Mouz- flat area
12:30- left side Birkat Al Mouz- mountain side and easy hiking through the old village
13:30- lunch time!
14:30- Wadi Fanja fun- quick 4×4 time, cool off in the small water areas if there is any
16:00- Bid Bid souq- pottery, souvenirs, dried fish
16:45- head to Muscat
The Base of Jebel Shams Exploring
*Wadi Nakhr Canyon
This is Western Hajar Mountain chain, located in the Governorate of A’Dakhiliyah. The village called Al Nakhr village is located about 5 kilometers from Al Hajir village. Al Hajir is the village at the top on the right, on the other side of the wadi. The Nakhr Village is full of greenery and farm lots you can see from the road leading to Jebel Shams.
*Birkat Al Mouz
There are two sides of this area, one on the mountain side, and one on the flat land across the street currently lined with shops. Most of these pics are on the shop side, or Left as you enter the village. Great for exploring and seeing some old parts of Oman still standing.
The Top of Jebel Shams
*The Balcony Walk
at a very small village of Al Khatayam. The hike around the cliffs continues until you get to the abandoned village. The total walk takes around 1hr 30 minutes on way. You must take the same way back as you left. It might be the most famous hiking path in Oman, with its breathtaking views and easy terrain. The path takes you around the cliffs and up part way to the edge of Wadi Nakhr and the abandoned village of As Sab. You can hike the W6 and W6A. W6 is most popular as it has got the best view of the canyon.
There is a water pool accessible with a bit of climbing from the village, but it is not immediately obvious how to get there so make sure you follow the route markers. (http://www.omantripper.com/jabal-shams/)
*Jabal Shams Summit Hike (W4 Route)
See more information at www.omantripper.com/jabal-shams/.
The very top is off limits and used for the military. (~3,009 m high) You can still walk up to the southern summit (2997m), known as Qarn al Ghamaydah, along hiking route W4, with marvellous views into Wadi Nakhr, Wadi Sahtan and Wadi Bani Awf en route. (https://www.roughguides.com/destinations/middle-east/oman/western-hajar/jebel-shams/wadi-nakhr-balcony-walk/ )
Between Nizwa and Jebal Shams:
*Misfat Al Abriyeen
The Al Abri tribe was the original inhabitants and they built this village area on top of solid rocks. A lot of it still stands and you can even see shelves built into the walls. The walls are traditional mud houses and a mix of grass with mud that now crumbles in your hands. The roofs are constructed from palm trees and leaves. The interesting part is that it was constructed on top of solid rock. You can also see a traditional water system called a falaj that still runs today.
Oman Trekking Guides (great guides to follow the trails and know where to go for hiking or trekking)
Camping: I like to camp at Jebal Shams near the Jebal Shams Resort. It’s a beautiful place to see the sunset and there are a few options for some decent ground to sleep on. A lot of Jebal Shams is rocky for sleeping. Plus, you will make some new 4-legged friends.
Waterfalls: During rainy days, you can see beautiful natural waterfalls in Oman. One of the more famous is Wadi A’Sab, which comes from the top of Jabal Shams and pours into the valley next to the village of Sab Bani Khamis.