THE OMANI CAPITAL, Muscat is pushed by rugged hills up against the coast, from where a great empire once set sail, for Africa and India.
Along this coast are many scenice spots to camp or wallow in a wadi. Muscat itself is worth a little time, especially if you are able to see the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque (closed Fridays, ooops!).
Rocky hills push up against the Omani capital of Muscat, hemming it into narrow patches on the Gulf of Oman.
The Sultanate of Oman once ruled the seas, going head to head with European navies, and controlling the slave trade of Zamzibar.
The city is a patchwork of districts, often seperated by hills or highways. The Corniche is where many mid level hotels are found.
The Corniche is a pleasant place to stroll and take in the mosques and bazaars nearby.
White and blue minarets pierce the skyline.
The entrance to a mosque along the Corniche.
Traditional architecture is still found in old homes and other buildings, with lattice windows and balconies.
Forts are another common find in Muscat, although most are still operational and not open to the public.
While Muscat is not the greatest city in the world, it is far from the worst.
Seeb is another coastal town, a short mini-bus ride from Muscat, easily visited as a day trip.
A fort complete with mortar-fire (covered discreetly in white) guards the Sultan's Palace.
While there is nothing wrong with a few days in Muscat, there are more interesting and enjoyable places in the country.
Renting a car allows you the freedom to explore Oman's coast, and camp on its beaches.
Two spots to explore are Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi, along the way to Sur. Beware of speed cameras along this highway!
I may have my wadis mixed up, but I believe this is Wadi Shab.
Deep canyon walls shade the gorge.
Beautiful clear water forms pools, small and large along the way.
Flowers, birds, frogs and lizards may be found.
Scrambling along ledges is sometimes needed, but this is by no means a "hike".
Many of the pools are deep and wide enough for swimming, although if the sun hasn't hit the water yet, it will be cold!
A little way inland, lies the town of Ibra, once a wealthy town with trade and commerce connections to Zanzibar.
The newer part of Ibra has several souqs to explore, but a little bit beyond the new town, the faded glory stands.
Multi-storey buildings once housed merchants and other wealthy families.
Carved inscriptions are one sign of the towns wealth of culture.
Doors are decorated with carvings, and studded with metal.
Nature has taken over some of the area.
Once luxurious homes are abandoned to their fate.