Wadi Shab is one of the many wadis in Oman that provides the opportunity to cool down in its inviting pristine waters and have stunning views of the country’s fantastic scenery.
If you’re wondering, “what is a wadi?” – Wadi is an Arabic term referring to a dry riverbed that contains water at certain times of the year, usually when there is heavy rainfall. After the rain, natural pools are formed, and you can swim in them.
In this post, you’ll find all you need to know to plan a visit to Wadi Shab, including how to get here, the entrance fee, places to stay nearby, and other helpful tips.
Table of contents
- Where is Wadi Shab
- Getting to Wadi Shab
- Wadi Shab entrance fee and hike
- What to bring to Wadi Shab
- The best hotels near Wadi Shab
- Places to see near Wadi Shab
- Wadi Shab FAQ
- What to know for visiting Wadi Shab in Oman
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Where is Wadi Shab
Wadi Shab is located in Tiwi, which is a part of Sur, one of the top places to visit in Oman. The attraction is easily reachable by rental car from the main cities of the country – Sur, Muscat, and Nizwa. Here are the main distances to consider:
- Muscat to Wadi Shab: 170 kilometers or 105 miles
- Sur to Wadi Shab: 70 kilometers or 44 miles
- Nizwa to Wadi Shab: 320 kilometers or 200 miles
Getting to Wadi Shab
Getting to Wadi Shab is an easy task. If you are on a road trip through Oman with a rental car, you can leave Muscat, the country’s capital, and drive southeast for around 2 hours.
When driving from Muscat to Wadi Shab, you can stop at Bimmah Sinkhole, an incredible natural pool, and the stunning Fins Beach.
Now, if you are just staying in Muscat and going on tours to visit the main attractions of Oman, it’s good to know that Wadi Shab is part of many tours leaving the capital. Here are a few to consider:
- Wadi Shab and Bimmah Sinkhole Private Full-Day Tour: see two of the best natural attractions of Oman on the same day and without worrying about driving to and from them. This private tour is the best alternative if you prefer something more intimate, as you won’t have other tourists joining you.
- Wadi Shab and Bimmah Sinkhole Private Group Full-Day Tour: if you don’t mind joining others, this tour is slightly cheaper than the private tour and takes you to the same places – Wadi Shab and Bimmah Sinkhole.
- Wadi Shab and Bimmah Sinkhole 4X4: visit Wadi Shab and other beautiful spots on a private 4×4 tour from Muscat. You’ll also visit Bimmah Sinkhole and Fins Beach.
Wadi Shab entrance fee and hike
After you drive from Muscat or your tour leaves you in the parking lot, it’s time to start the hike to Wadi Shab.
Upon arriving at the Wadi Shab parking lot, you’ll need to take a boat ride for 1 OMR per person (round trip) to cross a short stretch of river. There’s no entrance fee to the wadi, so you just need to pay for the ride.
Then, you’ll start a super quiet trail of about 45 minutes through a breathtaking rugged valley surrounded by palm trees and lots of vegetation.
Once you reach the pools of Wadi Shab, make the most of your time and be sure to check out the entire canyon to admire the complete scenery. When swimming in the natural pool, don’t forget to see the waterfall and the cave, which you can only access by swimming in the water.
Finally, though the Wadi Shab trail is fairly easy, and I wore flip-flops, it’s wise to wear waterproof hiking shoes or sandals. Proper shoes will allow you to cross any part of the trail that might have small ponds.
What to bring to Wadi Shab
- Hiking shoes or hiking sandals: though the hike is relatively easy, the loose rocks may be annoying, so bring proper shoes to protect your feet.
- Dry Bag: so you can bring your phone to the pools or leave your belongings close to the water without worrying about them.
- GoPro: to take unforgettable pictures.
- Waterproof phone case: if you don’t have a GoPro, bring a waterproof case for your phone to take stunning shots.
- Towel: a lightweight towel so you can dry off before starting the hike to head back to the parking lot.
- Swimwear: proper swimwear to swim in the pools. I recommend wearing a one-piece and maybe even adding shorts on top of it for women.
- Water shoes: flip-flops or any type of non-slippery water shoes.
- Snacks: as there is no place to eat in Wadi Shab, bring a few snacks if you plan to spend the day. If you’re leaving Muscat, you can buy them at Carrefour.
The best hotels near Wadi Shab
There is one hotel near Wadi Shab, Sama Wadi Shab Resort, which though super basic, it’s a good stay if you want to have an early start – it’s located only 5 minutes away from the parking lot where you’ll start the hike.
However, the best places to stay to visit Wadi Shab are either Muscat, approximately 2 hours away, or Sur, the coastal city that is located a little bit more than one hour further.
BEST HOTELS IN MUSCAT
- Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel: a gorgeous 5-star hotel set on the Al Hajar mountains overlooking the Sea of Oman. It features 3 restaurants, including seafood and a Chinese one, and has its own private beach.
- Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa: this adults-only resort is a dreamy place to stay In Muscat. The décor reminiscent of Arabian palaces is seen in the rooms and the entire hotel. Also, Shangri-la has a private beach, and some rooms offer stunning sea views.
- The Chedi Muscat: one of the top hotels in Muscat, The Chedi is a luxury hotel with pristine pools (including an adults-only one) and all the perks you expect from a 5-star resort.
- Kempinski Hotel Muscat: a modern luxury 5-star hotel. The pools are perfect for cooling down during the summer months.
BEST HOTELS IN SUR
- Zaki Hotel Apartment: this hotel is an excellent place to stay in Sur – it features comfortable rooms and has a great seafood restaurant.
- Sur Plaza Hotel: though Sur doesn’t have a great variety of hotels, Sur Plaza is a good place if you just need a bed for the night.
Places to see near Wadi Shab
Before or after visiting Wadi Shab, add a stop at Bimmah Sinkhole, a natural pool with electric shades of blue and green where you can also cool down and swim with the fish.
Also, very close to Wadi Shab, you’ll find Fins, a long and peaceful beach with blue waters that are a great stop before continuing your road trip through Oman.
Wadi Shab FAQ
Where is Wadi Shab located?
Wadi Shab is located in Tiwi, 170 kilometers (or 105 miles) from Muscat, Oman’s capital. You can reach the Wadi either via rental car, on a road trip through Oman, or with a tour, choosing between a private or a group tour.
What should I wear to visit Wadi Shab?
You should bring hiking shoes or sandals, flip-flops or water shoes, a towel, sunglasses, sunscreen, a dry bag, swimwear, and snacks when visiting Wadi Shab.
What is the best time to visit Wadi Shab?
Like the rest of Oman, the best time to visit Wadi Shab is from October to April, when the weather will be pleasant and the hike enjoyable. Avoid going during the summer months, especially July and August, when the heat and humidity can be brutal, and the pools can also dry out because of the lack of rain.
How do I get from Wadi Shab to Muscat?
You can drive from Muscat to Wadi Shab in a rental car, allowing you to visit other top places to visit in Oman. Or you can hire a tour to take you from Muscat to Wadi Shab.
What to know for visiting Wadi Shab in Oman
Citizens of almost all nationalities, including the US and European Union, need a visa to enter Oman. You can obtain it online with a stay permit of 10 or 30 days, and the cost starts at 5 OMR.
When applying for an Oman visa, attaching a copy of the passport and a photo is necessary. After that, just wait to receive the email with the approval (mine took 24 hours), then print it to present to immigration on arrival.
Electricity in Oman
The voltage in Oman is 240 V, and the power plugs and sockets are the type G (the same as in the UK).
The currency used in Oman is the Omani Rial (OMR). You can check the current exchange rate on Google.
While traveling, I use a free Charles Schwab Debit Card that provides unlimited worldwide ATM Fee Refunds, no foreign transaction fee, and the actual exchange rate.
Best time to visit Oman
The best time to visit Oman is from October to April, when temperatures are milder. And be cautious when visiting the country from May to September, when the thermometers can easily reach 50 °C.
Regardless of the season, be prepared for low temperatures in the mountains of Jebel Akhdar and in the desert Wahiba Sands, where you will need to wear a sweater and/or a windbreaker jacket.
Best tours in Oman
Some of the best tours and things to do in Oman are:
- Wadi Shab and Bimmah Sinkhole Private Full-Day Tour: see two of the country’s best natural attractions on the same day and without worrying about driving to and from.
- Cruises to Daymaniyat & Snorkeling: one of the best experiences to have in Oman – the Daymaniyat Islands are an idyllic getaway from Muscat and a must-do day trip.
- Full-Day Private Wahiba Sands Desert and Wadi Bani Khalid Tour: are you short on time to visit the country’s highlights? This tour allows you to explore two wonders – the ochre dunes of the Wahiba Sands desert and Wadi Bani Khalid’s raw, unspoiled nature.
Transportation in Oman
Rental Cars: The best way to get around Oman is by car. Plan on renting a car as soon as you arrive in Muscat so that you can explore the country at your convenience. I use RentalCars for my car rental needs, and it’s the tool I recommend.
Ever since the pandemic, travel insurance has become almost essential for every type of travel and is currently one of the requirements for entering Oman.
My recommended travel insurance company is SquareMouth, a platform for searching for the best option amongst travel insurance companies. It allows travelers to instantly purchase a travel insurance policy from every major provider in the US, and it also makes clear each policy’s COVID-related coverage.
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