Wadi Shab (وادي شاب) also spelled Wadi Shaab, is a very popular wadi located in the Al Sharqiyah Region in Oman. It is a very popular outdoor attraction for both locals and expats, and people come here for the nature, to swim in the fresh water pools or just to have a barbecue. The main attraction of the wadi is the water fall in the cave, which you can reach after a roughly 40 mins hike and swimming in 2-3 pools. I really love coming to this wadi as it is not very far from Muscat, is easily accessible even with a saloon car and because the pools are always full with clear blue water!
Wadi Shab is located in the Al Sharqiyah region in Oman, it is less than 2 hours drive from Muscat and you can combine your trip here with a visit to Wadi Tiwi, Bimmah Sinkhole and/or the lovely beach of Tiwi. The wadi is definitely very popular and it gets very busy during public holidays with many families having a picnic at the entrance of the wadi, so best to avoid it during that time if you don’t like crowded wadis.
Before you go:
You may just want to enjoy a leisurely walk at the entrance of the wadi and see some of the pools, or you are more adventurous and would like to dive in the pools from the mountain cliffs (after all, the 2012 Red Bull Cliff Diving final was held in Wadi Shab), you can do both in Wadi Shab.
So what to take is pretty standard stuff:
- Food, snacks and plenty of drinking water
- Swimming clothes and towel
- Slippers or a sturdy water-proof footwear
- Camera and water proof bag (otherwise you won’t get to take any pictures inside the cave)
Inside Wadi Shab:
Depending on the water level, you may have to get get a boat to take you across to the other side from the car park, where you start the hike. There are villagers right at the car park who will take you across the pond, and the price is 1 OMR per person. This includes the ride back from the other side after you finish. Of course you can also decide to just walk through the water pond – but I personally tend to think 1 OMR is a small fee to pay to support the locals in this stunning place of Oman. On another note, there is FINALLY a public toilet at the entrance.
Inside you will have to walk along palm groves, on rugged rocky cliffs and swim through some pools to get to the main attraction, which the submerged cave with waterfalls. It will take you about 30-45 minutes walk to get to the cave and to enter it you have to swim through a hole between the mountains. Sometimes the water level is too high that you have to dive under the water to pass through so be careful, especially if you’re visiting after it has been raining. There are ropes in the cave which you can use to climb up the waterfall and jump in the pool, and also go up where there is another small pool, but I haven’t explorer any further unfortunately.
Of course, if you are not comfortable swimming through a narrow slit to get to the cave there is still plenty to do. There are a couple of deep pools and water falls before that, and several spots you can jump from in the fresh waters. In addition, try to find the old semi-demolished houses (which I was told was used to keep cattle) at one of the cliffs.
I personally love going to Wadi Shab since it is so easy to get to and the pools are always amazing and clean. However, something that always bothers me is the large amount of rubbish I see thrown around there, which is unfortunately expected due to the high number of visitors it gets.
Have you visited Wadi Shab? Did you get to go further after the waterfall in the cave?
How to get to Wadi Shab:
You don’t need a 4-wheel drive to get to the Wadi Shab as it just just off the Muscat-Sharqiyah highway and you get to it by passing through Tiwi village, you can just park your car and start your hike.