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Wadi Bani Khalid & Wadi Hawer

Dec 20, 2013 by     27 Comments    Posted under: Al Sharqiyah, Natural Attractions, Outdoors, Trips, Wadi

Wadi Bani Khalid (6)

Wadi Bani Khalid (وادي بني خالد) is one of the most famous wadis in Al Sharqiyah Region in Oman. It has been a well known wadi for a number of years and popular with both adventure seekers and families wanting to have a bit of a picnic. We enjoyed our visit to Wadi Bani Khalid so much that it took the number one spot for “Best Wadi To Visit” from Wadi Al Arbaeen (Wadi Shab is number three now!). This is mostly due to the unique rocks, crystal clear blue pools and beautiful water falls in the wadi. Here, we are referring to the southern part of Wadi Bani Khalid (which the locals call “Wadi Hayer” or “Wadi Hawer”) – more on that later.

Wadi Bani Khalid

Path through Wadi Hawer

Waterfall in Wadi Hawer

Before You Go:

Just like any wadi visit, you will need:

  • Sun-screen
  • Food, snacks and plenty of drinking water
  • Swimming clothes and a towel
  • Slippers or a sturdy water-proof footwear (something that won’t let you slip!)
  • Camera and waterproof bag
  • A flashlight if you are going into Muqil Cave.

Inside Wadi Bani Khalid:

Wadi Bani Khalid is the name of the wadi passing through a large area encompassing a couple of villages, and that is why there is a bit of confusion of where the wadi actually is. When we first made our way there, we ended up at Muqil, which has the famous large swimming pool, picnic areas and a small cave network. If you want to actually trek Wadi Bani Khalid you need to go to the southern wadi, Wadi Hawer, which is near Al Bid’ah village (البضعة).


Wadi Bani Khalid

We first followed the road signs pointing to Muqil caves, where the road takes you through plenty of farms and then a large car park. You may find many local kids offering to take your stuff to the picnic area (for a tip). A couple of minutes walk and you will reach a huge natural swimming pool with shades and picnic areas around it, and most likely many people/families having a BBQ and enjoying the place.

Wadi Bani Khalid (1)

We visited the wadi during the weekend and found the place to be absolutely packed with people in the picnic areas, and many more swimming in the water pools. The water was fresh and there were plenty of waterfalls; however, it was not crystal clear and all we could think of while making our way through is how much nicer Wadi Al Arbaeen is in comparison to this area! However, one of the local kids told us that the water is like that because of the flash floods that occurred recently, so maybe you will find them super clear!

Wadi Bani Khalid (3)

Either way, the walk is easy (albeit on slippery rocks) and after 10 mins or so you will reach Muqil cave. Here you will need to really crouch (and kneel sometimes) to pass through, and you will also need your flash light. If you are not very comfortable, you will likely find one of the local kids who will be more than happy to take you in (tip expected). It can be quite claustrophobic and very humid inside. You may also end up encountering some bats and should be able to hear a waterfall somewhere.

Wadi Bani Khalid (4)Wadi Bani Khalid (5)

There is also a trekking path (E35) marked with the familiar yellow, green and red flags which connects to Wadi Tiwi but it is a serious multi-day hike that you should be well prepared for if you intend on doing it.

Wadi Hawer / Al Hayer 

Wadi Bani Khalid (7) Wadi Bani Khalid (10)

After finishing up with Muqil we drove south to Bid’ah village and explored the proper trekking place known as Wadi Hawer. This part actually connects to Sayq/Seeq further south. One of the locals told us its a 2-3 hour hike one-way but knowing the locals and how used they are to trekking there it is likely to be 4-5 hours long! We did not have time to do that, but after walking less than an hour we encountered some really amazing water falls and crystal clear pools. Suffice to say, we were pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed swimming in the pools here! If you had to visit one of the two locations, this one should not be missed!

Wadi Bani KhalidWadi Bani Khalid (11)Wadi Bani Khalid (12)

How to get to Wadi Bani Khalid / Wadi Hawer

Take the Dakhiliya route from Muscat heading towards Samael, and then through Wadi Al Aaq on your way to Al Kamil and Wafi. The turn to Wadi Bani Khalid is about 15kms or so after passing Bidiyah, and its another 20 kms to reach the area. From there you can either go north to Muqil or south to Wadi Hawer (the whole area encompassing Wadi Bani Khalid). At both locations you can start your journey at the car park shown in the Google map below:

View Wadi Bani Khalid – OmanTripper in a larger map

We really enjoyed our trip to Wadi Hawer, and highly recommend it for anyone wanting a bit of a hike and a swim. Of course, Wadi Bani Khalid at Muqil is quite nice too – especially if you do not want to walk much to reach the pools – but then you will have to contend with all the crowds.

P.S. Please try your utmost to maintain the beauty of this wadi by not throwing anything during your walk, it is unlikely that the local municipality sends cleaning staff to clean Wadi Bani Khalid so anything you throw will probably stay there for years unless someone voluntarily removes it 🙂

27 Comments + Add Comment

  • […] Trickier than Wadi Shab & Wadi Bani Khalid, but more straightforward than Wadi Al Arbaeen as the path is easier to follow. Assuming you are […]

  • Have you been to Wadi Jizzi, Sohar?

    • No! Not yet, I should probably plan a visit to it (and Sohar in general) soon 🙂

  • Assalamualikum Ali ,

    I have sedane car , possible for me to explore wadi bin khalid ?

    • Hi Samiulla,

      Yes you should be able to reach the entrance to Wadi Bani Khalid with a sedan car, no problem!


  • Hi Ali,
    I’ve recently moved to Oman and am constantly referring to your site for weekend trip ideas. It’s a fantastic point of reference.
    Quick question, do you know if you can camp at Wadi Bani Khalid? And if so, are there good spots to camp? I understand that camping in the wadi itself should be avoided due to the possibility of flash flooding.

    • Hi Jade,

      Glad to hear that 🙂

      I have never camped in wadis personally before, due to the reason you mentioned about risk of flash floods. I don’t re-call seeing any suitable areas in Wadi Bani Khalid that will be suitable for camping, as it is in a relatively ‘populated’ area so it might be tricky finding a place far away from the village (I think? I could be wrong). If I was to camp there, I would probably camp near Bidiyah/sand-dunes and drive afterwards to Wadi Bani Khalid as it is not too far away 🙂

      Sorry, I know I’m not being much help!


      • Hi Ali,
        Thank you for your reply.
        We visited on the weekend and found a good spot on the ridge above the wadi. If you ever visit again, or know of someone who is visiting, I would recommend this spot. As you approach the carpark, turn left into the village of Miqil. Continue up the road for about a kilometre or two – there will be a building on your left and a turnoff to your right. Take the turnoff and in about 200m are two flat areas which look like they have been set up for camping on either side of the road. There is a small rocky ledge at each spot, which protects the site from the wind.
        It also a good spot to stay if you want to get up early and visit the wadi without anyone else around. We went down to the wadi at about 7am and we only saw three other couples in the two hours we were there.

        • Hi Jade,

          That sounds like a great spot, thanks for sharing the information. I will check it out next time I’m there 🙂


  • I must admit I haven’t been to Wadi Bani Khalid since 1997 and it looks like it’s changed. A group of us entered the caves without a guide and got a bit disorientated. We found our way out but gave ourselves a scare. Those kids with the rope are not to be ignored. Worth a few baisa to find your way out again. I remember upon exiting I stood with the group at the entrance and didn’t notice the drop behind me. If I’d backed up a little more I’d have gone over the edge. I’ve thought about that often in the intervening years.

    • Hey Chris,

      That is fantastic, Thanks for sharing your experience 🙂 Can’t imagine how it would have been like in 1997! It definitely has changed a lot, so maybe worth a visit for you! I didn’t see many deep drops in the cave, but I admit I didn’t explore it very well as we were running out of time!


  • wonderfull pictures and stories about the Wadi bani Khalid, but it would be also nice if we get the guide also to the direction for those who have not been there, GPS coordinate will be perfect wasy of guide i hope people who visit the area can easy record the coordinates and pass it on the pages like this so we can all visit the areas easy and withought time west.

    Thank you and Regards,

    • Hey Saif

      Thanks for that! I thought the google map information would be helpful enough on how to get there 🙂 Open it in a new page and see if it helps.


  • Hi Ali, great website! Keep up the good work! Am I right, and is a 4×4 not required to visit this wadi?

    • Hey Lisa,
      Apologies for the late reply, the email notifications stopped working for some reason. You don’t need a 4×4 to get to Wadi Bani Khalid entrance!


  • Hello, where would you recommend to camp, Muqil or Al Hayer area? I plan to explore the area the next day after Jabreen and Jebel Shams Balcony Walk and move from here to catch the late afternoon ferry to Masirah. Is that doable? Thank you.

    • Hi Petr,
      Time-wise and distance driven that is probably doable; but I’d try to get there early to find a camp spot before it gets dark. I haven’t been to Wadi Bani Khalid area long enough to know where you could camp in the area. But also keep in mind that you will be passing by Bidiyah and the Wahiba Sands area on your way too (shorter driving time too as you don’t need to take a side-road to Wadi Bani Khalid), so I’d consider camping in the desert instead if I was you 🙂

      Hope that helps,

  • Hello? I just wondered do you think it would be OK to take our dog? He is an Omani Wadi dog so up to the challenge but I mean did you see any other dogs there, do you think other people would mind. I know sometimes Omanis can be particular about dogs! Thanks

    • Hello Sam,

      To be perfectly honest, in my opinion it would be best not to take your dog with you. It is very unlikely any one will tell you anything, but there are many villages by Wadi Bani Khalid and I am just guessing they will not feel very enthusiastic seeing a dog running around the rocks. I am sure you will have a good time if you decide to take him with you, and no one will tell you anything. But it will be a nice gesture (showing an understanding of the culture) not to take him.

      Just my two baisas 🙂 Hope that helps.

  • […] recently stopped there on our way to Wadi Bani Khalid and Seeq, and found that is it a nice place to stop-over for people traveling in that direction. […]

  • during summer,
    is there water in wadi????

    • The Muql area of Wadi Bani Khalid always has water. I can’t guarantee you will see the waterfalls at Al Hayer during summer though as I heard from locals that they are only there after rainfall.

  • Love your blog – lots of great information. Have enjoyed it while planning our February trip to Oman . .can you tell me how we could get from Nizwa to Al Wasil? two women traveling together – Shukran

  • […] Wadi Bani Khalid (وادي بني خالد) is one of the most famous wadis in Al Sharqiyah Region in Oman. It has been a well known wadi for a number of years and popular with both adventure seekers and families wanting to have a …  […]

  • well written…keep up the work..hope I get the chance to visit it soon

    • Thanks Said, glad you liked it 🙂 You should definitely visit Wadi Bani Khalid if you get the chance!

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