This truly spectacular road over the western Hajar Mountains affords some of the best views in Oman.Lonely Planet
Contribution by Hawraa Al-Aufi Edited by OTB
Planning the trip
There are two routes from Muscat to the Shorfet Alalamin view point located at the peak of Jabal Hatt. One option is via Al Awabi (Route 13) and the other through Al Hamra (Route 15). It can be accomplished as a long round- trip from Muscat or as a more leisurely outing from Nizwa to Rustaq. With three sleeping options along the route, the road enables a major exploration of the mountains. Although the mountain part of the route is only 70km long, it takes at least four hours to drive and a 4WD is essential to negotiate the sustained, off-road descent into Wadi Bani Awf. This route passes through remote, rugged country, and you should take the necessary precautions (spare tyre, jack, water, warm clothing, walking shoes and basic provisions). Check weather conditions before you leave and do not attempt the journey during or after rains.
Going via Al Hamra (Route 15) Follow the signs for Al Hoota Cave from the Nizwa–Bahla road. You’ll see a brown sign, just before reaching the cave, indicating Bilad Sayt (Balad Seet). This road leads to Sharfat Al Alamayn viewpoint, the highest point in the road. It’s worth spending time here (there’s a small hotel on the top) to enjoy the scenery before the long descent into the village of Hatt. This traditional mountain oasis is best explored on foot or, to avoid being intrusive, admired at a distance. It has no facilities for tourists.
Carrying forward along this route you will come across a number of tourist spots including;
- The picturesque village of Bilad Sayt.
- Snake Gorge, a popular destination for adventure hikers and climbers.
- The spectacular Wadi Bani Awf
After passing Al Tekkah, the road will eventually join Route 13 that leads to Muscat or Rustaq.
Things to see
Jabal Hatt offers an alternative to the popular Jabal Shams or Jabal Al Akhdar. On the route there you will come across a number of key tourist destinations in the western Hajar mountains. The Hatt & Wadi Bani Awf road is described briefly by the Lonely Planet guide.
According to Oman Observer “The mountain where Hatt village is located enjoys low temperature all throughout the summer. In winter, the mercury can dip to as low as 7 degrees Celsius and chances are, one will also see snow which is many Omani families choose this location as their summer and even winter destinations.”
If you are planning to stay overnight, there are a number of camping spots and few hotels/inns along the route. Shorfat Alalamin Hotel (location below) is one of the popular destinations.