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Wadi Bani Khalid: is it price visiting?

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If you’re in search of a wonderful wadi in Oman the place you possibly can discover and swim simply then Wadi Bani Khalid is the place to go.

It’s simply accessible, is heated by a scorching spring and has customer amenities.

Nevertheless, as you may anticipate, it’s no secret.

A view back towards the facilities of the wadi where its possible to see more people gathering at around lunchtime

Wadi Khalid is essentially the most accessible but additionally essentially the most business of the well-known wadis we’ve visited since transferring to Oman. It was a little bit of a shock to our system after exploring a lot quieter locations however we nonetheless loved it. 

Right here’s our expertise so you possibly can resolve for yourselves whether or not you wish to go to Wadi Bani Khalid or to hunt out journey at one of many different wonderful wadis in Oman.

Why go to Wadi Bani Khalid?

Father and two daughters swim in the clear waters of Wadi Bani Khalid with the rocks walls of the valley rising up behind them

Wadi Bani Khalid doesn’t have the identical secluded allure of Wadi Damm that we camped at early in our seven day Oman highway journey, but it surely was undoubtedly price a go to.

It has giant heat swimming pools for swimming lower than a ten minute, straightforward stroll from the automobile park.

For extra journey and to flee essentially the most touristy areas, you possibly can swim a for much longer part of the wadi. You can even stroll a rocky path alongside the facet of the wadi and keep away from swimming altogether whereas nonetheless appreciating fantastic views of the clear water under.

Someplace that fewer individuals discover is a cave which is 1km into Wadi Khalid. You possibly can climb inside to find the new spring that feeds the wadi’s luxuriously heat waters.

The stroll into Wadi Bani Khalid

From the top of the automobile park you’re taking a raised concrete path with date palms on both facet.

Father and two daughters walk along a raised concrete path with path trees on either side

After 5 minutes this turns right into a slender stroll alongside facet an irrigation channel. Simply comply with the yellow, white and pink markers painted on the rocks.

Father and two daughters walk along the side of an irrigation system with palm trees down one side

And that’s as difficult because the stroll to the primary pool will get.

You’ll quickly spot a cover and bridge over a big pool of water and a restaurant on the left.

This can be a place to chill out, have your toes nibbled by small fish within the water or go for a swim. It’s simply accessible with younger kids (though pushchairs wouldn’t make it) and people who don’t need a correct hike.

A view into the valley showing the first pool and the way towards the wadi walk. The family walks in the foreground on the right

If you happen to’re eager to discover additional keep on the precise facet the place you’ll spot an indication saying ‘Muqal Cave 1km’.

A brown sign on poles with 'Muqal Cave 1km' written on it in Arabic and English

That is the much less trodden path at Wadi Bani Khalid, not as a result of it’s arduous, however as a result of most guests don’t come right here for very lengthy.

The trail above the wadi is effectively marked however there are a couple of uneven sections, slippy rocks and algae lined streams to cross.

However in case you are sporting sturdy footwear, not flip flops, it’s not too difficult. Stairs have been in-built locations to make the stroll simpler, however you continue to must thoughts your step.

Child walking down concrete steps that have been built into the side f the valley to make it easier to access
Father and daughter wave while treading water in a deep turquoise pool of water with the sand coloured valley walls rising up around them

The stroll above the wadi offers you fantastic views of the turquoise water under.

The trail is kind of extensive however there’s no security rail between you and an extended drop into the wadi in some locations. Maintain the fingers of youthful kids so you recognize the place they’re always.

After a 5 minute average hike the trail comes down to satisfy the water.

A tall brown toilet tent with a printed sign on the front instructing people to use it to change

This second swimming spot has tents which you should use for turning into swimwear. There was an honesty field requesting 100 baisa (about 25p) once we visited.

The pool right here is shallow, heat and superb for a fast dip. There have been a lot of individuals on this small space and a few of them wished to speak to our canine, so I didn’t get an image.

From right here you possibly can proceed swimming up the wadi although deeper sections or stroll over some rocks and throughout a shallow part of operating water in direction of the doorway of Muqal Cave, also called Makal Cave.

Muqal Cave at Wadi Bani Khalid

1km from the primary swimming pools and restaurant is the doorway to Muqal Cave. It’s price visiting as a result of it comprises a scorching spring – the supply of Wadi Bani Khalid’s heat waters.

Nevertheless, as with all pure sights in Oman, your well being and security is your individual accountability. An analogous website within the UK would both be closed to guests or solely be open for guided excursions with arduous hats and different security gear.

We determined to duck inside primarily based on the truth that different individuals have been popping out wanting fairly blissful.

Under is what we skilled at Muqal Cave that can assist you resolve whether or not it’s one thing you’d prefer to see.

Girl wearing a buoyancy aid and swimwear walks up a concrete ramp built into the side of the valley wall

The doorway to the cave is up a slender concrete ramp. Once we received to the highest we weren’t too positive what we have been taking a look at or what we’d discover inside. Except for a little bit of graffiti across the slender opening, there’s no indicators telling you in regards to the cave.

We hadn’t even introduced a torch, so switched on the lights on our telephones as with slithered inside.

Family slithering into the low mouth of Cave Muqal at Wadi Bani Khalid
The doorway to Muqal Cave is extraordinarily slender. Are you able to see our canine main the best way?

The cave is dry however you’ll come out dripping with sweat as a result of the ambiance is so humid.

It wasn’t doable for us to face up straight for fairly a couple of meters and once we did it was in small bubble-like chambers with bats roosting above us. As we bowed our heads and continued additional in we have been met with partitions of scorching air and the sound of dashing water within the cave under.

It was at this level that we realised in regards to the scorching spring. We moved deeper and located a bigger chamber with extra honeycomb rocks however didn’t discover the water. There are completely different paths main off the cave, so we should have missed the one which led to the spring.

After 10 minutes my eldest was feeling a bit claustrophobic so we circled and returned to the doorway.

If you happen to fancy visiting Muqal Cave put on research footwear and garments you don’t thoughts getting soiled. Additionally deliver a torch and take it slowly. We bumped our heads in a couple of locations.

You’ll additionally want a drink of water and one other swim if you emerge – it’s like a sauna.

Ideas for swimming in Wadi Bani Khalid

In addition to the primary set of swimming pools Mr Tin Field and our women swam up and down the size of the wadi whereas I walked alongside with our canine.

I’d already counted myself out of a refreshing dip after leaving half my swimming wear at our camp in Wahiba Sands!

Mr Tin Box and daughter about to enter the waters of wadi Bani Khalid just beyond the first pool and restaurant area
This can be a good place to enter the wadi should you intend to swim past the primary pool

The rock slopes down into the water making it straightforward to get in. Simply be cautious of slippery algae under the waterline.

The wadi has some very deep sections and locations the place you could scramble over rocks or small waterfalls to progress. This may also be slippy work. See the part under on what to put on for our tips about footwear.

Father and daughter walk carefully along a sloped surface of the wadi to get between pools of water

What to put on at Wadi Bani Khalid

If you happen to didn’t already know this was a well-liked vacationer vacation spot, the indicators within the automobile park and once more if you attain the primary swimming pools are a lifeless giveaway.

They inform you what you might be anticipated to put on and about acceptable behaviour at Wadi Bani Khalid so that you respect native customs.

Two brown signs with guidance about what men and women should wear to visit and swim in Wadi Bani Khalid

Conservative out of doors clothes

Oman is a Muslim nation the place dressing conservatively is a authorized requirement. Basically you need to put on garments that cowl higher arms and knees.

A brief sleeve t-shirt and cropped exercise leggings for ladies and a t-shirt and lengthy shorts for males is completely acceptable when visiting Wadi Bani Khalid.

In terms of the swimming we’d advocate rash vests with quick sleeves* and swim shorts*. These might be worn beneath different clothes and likewise assist to guard towards the solar.

Sturdy footwear 

We all the time put on strolling sandals that we will use in water once we go to wadis. This protects carrying further water footwear which can be important for stoney and slippery sections.

The women and I all have KEEN footwear, which have grippy soles for strolling and have been out and in of the water extra occasions than I can depend.

The children at present have KEEN Unisex Child’s Verano Open Toe Sandals* and I’ve had a pair of KEEN path footwear for about 4 years now. They’ve been discontinued however are nonetheless going sturdy.

Right here’s one other KEEN out of doors sandal* that I do know would work effectively as the ladies have had smaller variations prior to now. The children all the time develop out of KEEN footwear earlier than they put on them out, so we frequently go them on.

Buoyancy aids

Mr Tin Box and daughters standing knee deep in the clear waters of Wadi Bani Khalid with large boulders towering above them

Your well being and security is your individual accountability whichever wadi you go to. Because of this we began bringing alongside buoyancy aids to each wadi the place we intend to swim.

Accidents can occur shortly, significantly slip ups. So should you fall over in water it’s significantly better that you simply float.

We introduced one of many children’ buoyancy aids with us from the UK and acquired one other at Decathlon within the Mall of Oman in Muscat the place additionally they promote grownup buoyancy aids.

Different issues to take to Wadi Bani Khalid

After visiting a number of wadis in Oman we’ve put collectively a listing of prompt issues to take alongside.

We’ve kicked ourselves a couple of occasions for forgetting apparent issues and objects that make the expertise a lot simpler. However I believe we’ve now received the definitive checklist.

If you happen to don’t have already got a few of these important objects we’ve discovered the next retailers good for out of doors gear:

  • The Sultan Centre, varied areas in Muscat
  • Decathlon within the Mall of Oman in Muscat
  • Solar and Sand Sport in Avenues Mall, the Mall of Oman and Metropolis Centre Mall in Muscat. There’s additionally an outlet store in Markaz Al Bahja.

I’ve additionally included hyperlinks under the place you possibly can order these items on-line should you’re in a position to plan far sufficient forward.

Listed here are some wadi staples to deliver with you:

Dry bag

Mr Tin Box wades into the first turquoise pool in Wadi Shab.
Image of our bag in use at Wadi Shab for illustrative functions

We’ve a rucksack that’s additionally a dry bag. We picked this up at a Sultan Centre store in Muscat and we take it with us in every single place now.

It’s straightforward to hold and large enough for a lightweight towel, some snacks and water, goggles for the youngsters, and a primary support package. It additionally doubles as a helpful flotation machine.

You possibly can purchase it on-line*.


Deliver a microfibre towel*. It’s a good suggestion to dry off a bit if you go away the swimming pools so you might be much less more likely to slip on the best way again to the wadi entrance.

You want one thing small that gained’t retain a lot of water and turn into heavy.

Solar glasses

There’s a lot of shade to be discovered within the wadi however not on a regular basis so defend your eyes with good sun shades.

Solar cream

For precisely the identical causes as you want sun shades, put on issue 50 solar cream in your face and physique. Even within the shade you’ll be choosing up rays.


I’m not a fan of placing my face within the water deliberately however my children adore it. Goggles enable them a distinct perspective on wadis so we all the time deliver theirs.

Change of garments

In case you get your garments moist or soiled go away a spare set in your automobile.

Snacks and water

The place would us mother and father be with out snacks for the youngsters?! Our go to snacks for mountain climbing journeys are apples and small packets of biscuits, which we will simply slip into our rucksack.

We regularly pack a picnic too because it means we will get meals into the youngsters quick once we get again to the automobile. A cool field and ice blocks are helpful for preserving meals contemporary in a scorching automobile.


You’re going to want numerous water, however gained’t essentially wish to carry all of it with you.

Ensure that everybody has a small bottle of water for the hike and go away some chilling in your automobile.


I don’t go wherever in Oman and not using a packet tissues. You by no means know if public toilets may have any, particularly in additional rural areas the place squat bogs and bum weapons (hoses by the john) are the norm.

First support package

One thing else we not often journey with out is our small first support package. This has plasters, together with Compeeds, bug chew cream and Panadol (paracetamol). That is what we stock with us.

We’ve one other first support package* together with bandages in our automobile.

Finest time to go to Wadi Bani Khalid

We visited on a Wednesday in February. It was our kids’s February half time period vacation and peak vacation season right here, however a lot of the different guests have been grownup vacationers.

We’ve been informed that on a weekend the wadi is a well-liked place for locals to go to and picnic too. So the optimum days to go are from Sunday to Thursday when there might be fewer locals and expats.

We arrived at 9.40am and there have been just some automobiles within the automobile park. However by noon once we left the restaurant and automobile park have been full. A variety of organised excursions arrive from 10am.

Photo taken through the front windscreen of our car as we drive thought the parking area at Wadi Bani Khalid. Bot sides of the car park are lined with vehicles
Vehicles that arrived after us.

If you wish to expertise Wadi Bani Khalid at its quietest arrive on the very starting or finish of the day. However don’t try the stroll or swim at midnight.

How lengthy do you want?

We spent two hours at Wadi Bani Khalid and this was loads of time to swim the size of the wadi and discover the cave.

Permit longer if you wish to do the identical after which eat on the restaurant.

Consuming at Wadi Bani Khalid

A view of the restaurant at Wadi Bani Khalid over the waters of the first pool.
The restaurant at Wadi Bani Khalid.

Once we arrived again on the most important amenities issues have been getting busy so we determined to seize lunch some place else.

The Assayil Mazeera restaurant again down within the city served a wide range of cuisines and was nice worth.

Different colleges at this wadi

There’s porta-loos within the automobile park – these value 400 baisa once we visited. There was additionally a cellular cafe within the automobile park promoting snacks and drinks.

The best way to get to Wadi Bani Khalid

This can be a rather well sign-posted vacationer attraction you could simply discover utilizing Google Maps or the Waze navigation app. Seek for ‘Wadi Bani Khalid parking space’ on both.

If you’re travelling from Muscat it’ll take three hours to succeed in the wadi utilizing Freeway 15 and the Freeway 23.

You may also go to right here as a comply with on from Wahiba Sands, Sur or the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve.

I’ve seen it prompt you could go to Wadi Bani Khalid in the identical day as Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi. This is perhaps doable should you have been staying in Sur however it could be very rushed. You’d actually not be capable of hike and swim at all of them, which is how you actually expertise these stunning locations.

And in case you are primarily based in Muscat, bagging these three well-known Oman wadis in sooner or later would contain not less than eight hours of driving with out stepping outdoors your automobile. So I’d not advocate it.

Discovering the Wadi Bani Khalid parking space

If you’re following your nav app you’ll be directed via the city under the wadi and alongside a cement highway that climbs up in direction of the automobile park.

A photo taken out of the front windscreen of our car as we drive up a concrete mountain road towards Wadi Bani Khalid
The highway to the wadi parking space is accessible with two wheel drive automobiles.

Right here’s the place to search out the Wadi Bani Khalid parking space:

Parking is free. The lengthy automobile park has on and off highway parking.

How a lot is Wadi Bani Khalid?

It’s free to go to Wadi Bani Khalid.

The bogs in automobile park value 400 baisa and the altering tents within the wadi value 100 baisa once we visited. Each are payable in money.

The place to remain close to Wadi Bani Khalid

We visited Wadi Bani Khalid from a desert camp in Wahiba Sands about an hour west.

The place to remain in Wahiba Sands

We booked Desert Retreat Camp* as we had our canine with us and it was the furthest dog-friendly camp into Wahiba Sands. We wished starry skies and large dunes, and it delivered on each.

Oval of traditional bedouin black and white striped tents in the Wahiba Sands desert, Oman. Picture is taken from above on a dune at sunset
This camp backs on to a big dune, which we climbed each evenings.

Desert Retreat Camp is without doubt one of the bigger camps with an oval of 14 conventional goat hair tents, every with a personal open roof toilet.

Traditional bedouin black and white striped tent in the orange sands of Wahiba Sands desert

Dinner and breakfast is included in your keep. You can even e-book actions like dune bashing and camel driving with the proprietor for an additional payment.

You possibly can learn extra about this and different locations we’ve stayed in my put up about our Oman highway journey.

Extra locations to remain

There are after all a lot of different Wahiba Sands desert camps and lodging* starting from inns to fashionable glamping resorts. It gained’t be arduous to search out one which works for you.

You may additionally e-book a non-public family-friendly villa* with swimming pool and splash park in Jadīd. That is an hour and 10 minutes south of the wadi and simply off Freeway 23 to Sur.

And the historic maritime city of Sur* additionally has loads of locations to remain. This may be an excellent place to remain in a single day should you have been on a highway journey from Muscat and wished to see Wadi Shab and/or Wadi Tiwi earlier than Wadi Bani Khalid.

Extra studying about Oman

We moved to Oman in 2022 and are loving attending to know our new, house.

Right here’s some extra posts I’ve written about Oman and expat life:

Take a look at the #TinBoxOman hashtag on Instagram to see extra of our adventures.

Disclosure: this put up comprises affiliate hyperlinks marked with *. If you happen to click on on one in every of these and make a purchase order I’ll earn some fee. This doesn’t have an effect on the worth you pay.

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