High up in the Western Hajar mountain ranges and overlooking the barren landscape Wadi Mistal are a number of villages tucked in the mountains, including Wakan and Hadash – both of which are part of Wilayt Nakhal in the South Al Batinah Governorate. With their beautiful terraced farms, stunning views and mild climate, Wakan village is becoming a very popular place for tourists wanting to explore this beautiful region of Oman. This post highlights our experience hiking from Hadash (حدش) village to Wakan (وكان) village via a mountain path, offering panoramic views of Wadi Mistal, as well as unique viewpoints of the mountains surrounding it and the villages tucked under the foothills. We found the Wakan Hadash hike to be of moderate difficultly, but immensely enjoyable and rewarding with the stunningly beautiful views throughout.
The Wakan-Hadash mountain path (مسير وكان-حدش الجبلي) is lovely and picturesque path that takes you from one mountain village to another, both located at approximately 1,500 m elevation. The hike is relatively well-marked with the ‘green, yellow & white‘ flag markers, and takes you up one of the mountains at the foothills of Jabal Akhder (الجبل الأخضر) – adjacent to Sayq Plateau at approximately 2,300 m elevation. Regardless of which village you start your hike from, the Wakan Hadash hike is moderately difficult with steep inclines at the beginning as you climb up to the mountain, and then very steep descent to the other village. The highlight of the hike is at the plateau, where you can take a slight detour off the trail-head to the edge of the mountain for a full panoramic view of the surrounding mountains from the highest point in the hike – the plateau also offers a few spots that look great for camping. Apparently, it is also possible to get to Jabal Akhder from there via an unmarked path, but I am yet to attempt that. There are a couple of exposed areas in the climb up to/descent from the plateau at the highest elevation point (called ‘Wakan Pass’ and ‘Hadash Pass’), we did not find them to be particularly dangerous especially since it looks like a wooden bridge has recently been built to cover the most exposed portion (as you descend towards Wakan); however, there is potential of weather conditions or rock falls making such areas more exposed in the future, so keep that in mind.
During our visit, we started the trek from Hadash, and with many breaks and photo-stops, it took us 6-7 hours to complete the hike and reach Wakan. I have not personally hiked the other-way around yet (i.e starting from Wakan to Hadash), but I was quite happy picking Hadash as a starting point, as you get to see some stunning scenery as you begin your descent from the plateau, with different angles of Wakan and the adjacent village of Al Qawrah (القورة) over a longer period of time, so more photo opportunities especially if you’re a slow hiker 🙂 The steep descent into Wakan resulted in many from our group complaining about knee problems afterwards, so I highly recommend you also consider bringing a walking-pole or stick along with your regular hiking gear to provide more support during the descent portion of the hike.
The Ministry of Tourism (MOT) website has an excellent map available online outlining key information on this hike (click on ‘Trekking Route 3‘ and look under Wadi Mistall| Western Hajar W25/24a). Route W25 is from Wakan to the highest-point plateau, while route W24a is from Hadash to the plateau. The Hadash-Wakan hike is not a looped track, so unless you plan on crossing the mountain again back to the village you started from, you should plan in advance by parking one car at village you will end your hike at (Wakan in our case) before driving to the village you will start from. Allow a driving time of 20-30 minutes from Wakan to Hadash. Alternatively, it is also possible to trek from Wakan to Hadash or vice-versa, via-route W24b taking approximately 3 hours, but I have not personally done this.
Places To Stay
I am not aware of any accommodation options at either Hadash or Wakan; however, camping is possible at Sayq Plateau portion of the hike (but keep in mind it is also the highest elevation in the trek so may get windy and cold in winter). Alternatively, look for accommodation options in Nakhal or Al Rustaq.
How to get to Wakan & Hadash
Wakan village is approximately 150 km away from Muscat, and can be reached in just over 1.5 hr driving time if you take the turn off the Nakhal-Al Rustaq highway. The turn to Hadash village is on the left before you start the drive up to Wakan village, approximately 5 km from the turn-off. The path to both villages, especially Wakan, is on a narrow and steep mountainous road and should only be attempted in a 4WD car. Please also keep in mind that both villages have limited spaces for cars to park, so make sure to go there early to ensure you have a spot to park.