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Three Strikes In Nizwa

My time in Nizwa has been frustrating to say the least. There are three World Heritage Sites I wanted to visit in this area. All three are within easy driving distance, but I’ve had some terrible luck.

I rented a car yesterday and drove about 150km from Nizwa to the village of Bat hoping to visit the archaeological Sites of Bat, Al-Khutm and Al-Ayn. I navigated my way to Bat flawlessly, but couldn’t find what I was looking for. There were no signs. Nothing. I stopped to try and get directions, but no one knew what I was talking about or didn’t understand me. I ended up spending several hours driving around for what amounted to nothing. I never ended up finding it. Strike one.

The second site was the Bahla Fort. That was easy to find as I drove past it on my way to Bat. When I stopped there on my way back, there were no signs or anything to instruct you where to park or where to go. No entrance, no nothing. The fort is under construction so I assume it was closed, without any signs saying it was closed. I took a few photos from the outside, but that was it. Strike two.

The third site I wanted to visit was the Aflaj irrigation systems of Oman. There is no one location, but I knew that one of the irrigation channels was in Nizwa, so I figured I could easily take my rental car and go visit the next morning. I ask for directions and am told that I need a 4-wheel drive to there. Also, there is no water flowing right now. I didn’t see the point in getting a special vehicle to visit an empty irrigation channel.Strike Three

All that being said, the mountains in this part of Oman are dramatic and beautiful. The landscape is very similar to what you can find in the mountainous deserts in Nevada or Arizona. Had I not come to Oman on a whim, this would be a great country to road trip in. I’ve met many travelers who are running about the country by car. All the roads are in great condition and the signs are in Arabic and English. Fuel is dirt cheap at 0.114 Omani Rial per liter (about $1.12 per gallon).

There is a surprising amount of tourism here. I was going to stay at this hotel another day, but it is booked solid tonight, mostly it seems with large tour groups.

I’m off to the Nizwa Fort (which looks much better than the Bahla Fort to be honest) and the souk today. I’ll probably take a bus back to Muscat or get another room for the night. I’m not sure yet. I’m more frustrated than disappointed to be honest. While I didn’t get to my destinations, the drive was worth it for its own sake.

  • 4 Comments... What's your take?

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Comments

  1. Pokey says:

    I had the exact same experience you had with regards to Bahla Fort. I was there a year ago and it was in the same condition. Things happen slowly there.

    The archaeological sites of Bat, Al-Khutm and Al-Ayn are hard to find. There are no signs and I forget exactly where they are. Basically, while you're driving on the highways you need to look for small piles of rocks on the ridges of the mountains. Once you find them, you drive as close as you can, but you'll need to get out and hike pretty far to get to them. Also, once you're there you may be a little disappointed as they're just circular piles of rocks.

    Also, you should go to Salalah.

  2. William says:

    Muscat? Is that the origin of the Muscat grape?

  3. MousE says:

    How frustrating! Still, I suppose it could be worse… right?

  4. there is still chance to go to salalah. I haven't been there myself (yet) but I have heard good things about that place.

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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