Surrounded by rough canyon walls jutting up from the pools of water it makes you wonder if it can get any more beautiful than this. Bilad Sayt is a fairy tale like village typical of the old Omani communal settlements of the past. During our trip the clear skies lit up the village that is built up on a hill with closely crowded homes made of mud and stone. The perimeter of the village is surrounded by date palms making it look like a dessert oasis. Jagged brown mountains surround over Bilad Sayt, dwarfing the whole village.
The excursion to Bilad Sayt is worth it, as it’s one of the unique places to see in Oman. It is literally off the beaten path as one needs to get there by 4×4 and then by foot. The climb up the mountains in the vehicle feels like riding a roller coaster with the most spectacular views in the world. Some of the inclines are so vertiginous that you may think you are driving to the Moon. The descents are equally thrilling that may leave your stomach full of butterflies.
Once in Bilad Sayt, you will be surrounded by verdant swath of plantations, date farms and the complex maze of falaj (irrigation canals) systems. Water gently trickles throughout the whole village via the falaj system giving it a feel of tranquility on top of the picture perfect setting. Being tucked safely within the Hajar mountain range, the village still enjoys a moderate climate during the scorching summers.
While Oman grows at a tremendous pace, it is nice to be able to meet some of the humblest people in these mountain villages like Bilad Sayt that still exist.
Going up into the mountains is always fun but avoid during and after rains cause the area is prone to flash floods. Always take care of the below mentioned pointers and carry some of the items mentioned to make sure your journey as smooth as possible.
- Check weather forecast on the same day of travel, do not attempt the journey if rain predictions.
- Top up fuel at any given point cause no pumps in the mountains.
- Try and travel in group if not at least with a second driver.
- Carry a flotation device (You never know where it may come handy)
- Towing rope
- Battery Booster
- Check overall vehicle health
- First Aid kit
- Warm / Water proof Clothing
- Sturdy footwear if you plan trekking
- Sufficient drinking water
- Enough food to keep you going
Head to Barka and take the road that leads to Rustaq. In the small town of Al Awabi, refuel and go on for another 10 kilometers. You’ll see a road sign on the right to Wadi Bani Awf. Turn there and continue for about 25km through the wadi until you come to an intersection. The road to Bilad Sayt is well indicated. The track goes through rugged terrain, so take extra care. This place is only accessible by 4×4 vehicles.
Have a safe journey and do share your experiences.