Jebel Shams Cliff Walk 2009

Jebel Shams Cliff Walk 2009

More than a dozen members enjoyed the Cliff Walk on a day when haze obscured the ridges on the opposite side of the gorge.

We met several other groups of hikers along the trail which is one of several that have been developed on the mountain.

About 15 families once lived in the settlement of Sap Bani Khamis. The descendents of the families now live in housing above the abandoned village.

According to the information board, the location was chosen because there was a good supply of fresh water and because it offered protection against "enemies".

The families built their houses of stone and used three varieties of wood, namely sidr (zizyphus spinachristi), olive and juniper. Crops included watermelons, peppers (chili), onions, tomatoes, wheat, pomegranate, lemons and basil. Livestock included donkeys, sheep and goats.

The signboard advises visitors: "Please enjoy the tranquility and the spectacular views of this place, but remember to leave any relics untouched!"

It remains one of the spectacular walks in the region!

The painted flag at the head
of the trail

The opposite ridge was
concealed in the haze

Starting out

The view into the gorge

It is difficult to see the
trail ahead

The trail is the faint white
line (left)

The drop to Wadi Ghul
is about 1500m

The first part of the trail
descends about 40m

There are several hiking trails
developed on the mountain

Looking ahead to the
second corner

About one-third of the
way to the village

Markers at the first corner

The temperature was
ideal for hiking

One of our hikers . . .

. . . enjoying the day!

View across the gorge

The trail is well marked

Looking up to the
ridge above

The second leg of the trail

Steps and marker

Looking back to the
first corner

One section where the
slope drops off sharply

Goats keep the sparse
vegetation trimmed

One of the sections
of over-hanging rock

Sheets of tufa material

Tufa built up over many years

The shoulder where the
first corner is located

The typical slope

The group making their way
to the second corner

Detail of some of the

Plants appeared healthy
along the trail

Second corner just ahead

Looking back on the trail

View out towards Nizwa

Markers at the second

The village is not yet in view

Descent into another
section of overhanging rock

Stalagmites and stalactites
once existed here

Terraces visible in center
of the photo

The houses of the village
are still difficult to spot

The trail ahead

Pausing to enjoy the view

Terraces in the center
of the photo

Members took hundreds
of photographs

Arriving at the village

Plaque for Sap Bani Khamis

One of the houses

Several houses

Steps leading to the
grinding stone

Grinding stone secured
with steel rope

View from the houses

Houses with soot overhead

Paths, steps and terraces

One of the plants in the village



View of the terraces from
the houses

Ledge above the terraces
where pool is located

House with door
leaning against opening

View from aflaj
towards the houses

The reservoir for the
falaj system

The overflow hole of
the reservoir

Hikers near the reservoir

View back along the trail
from the terraces

Ridges marking the first and
second corners of the trail


Looking down the gorge
from the terraces

Storage bins above the

Severn storage bins once
held pomegranates

Detail of storage bins

View from the bins
down over the terraces

The purpose of the stone
column is a mystery

Tufa material

Two goats were curious
about our lunches

Little pottery is found

Members on the terraces
enjoying the view

View from terraces to
area of storage bins

One of the falaj channels

Falaj channels

Tufa draping over the reservoir

Water once dripped from the
tufa into the reservoir

Cool shade before
the return trip

About 15 families once
lived in the community

The village was probably
abandoned about 35 years ago

The families kept donkeys
and goats

Soot from an old
cooking fire

Houses under the overhang

Members starting the
return trip

The slope is quite steep
in sections

The slow ascent back
to the trail head

Returning to the
second corner

The well-defined trail along
this section

The gradual climb towards
the first corner

Leaving the second corner

Well-defined trail

The first corner in the
center of the photo

The hike took about two
hours each way

Several other groups were
on the trail on the same day

The group nearing
the end of the trip

Climbing up the last,
steep section of the trail

View up the gorge

Completing the Cliff
Walk on Jebel Shams


Copyright 1977-2011 Emirates Natural History Group
Patron: H.E. Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak Al Nahayan

Served from Molalla, Oregon, United States of America