The Ultimate Guide To Visiting Wadi Shab, Oman
Updated December 2023, The Ultimate Guide To Visiting Wadi Shab, Oman was originally published in May 2020
Wadi Shab was easily one of the top highlights on my first trip to Oman. This narrow canyon is home to crystal clear blue water pools and even a secret waterfall inside a cave.
The hike along Wadi Shab is pretty straightforward and easy, so even if you aren’t the strongest trekker, it shouldn’t be a big challenge. In this following guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know before hiking into Wadi Shab.
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How To Get To Wadi Shab
Getting to Wadi Shab is simple as the parking lot from which you’ll begin your hike is located right off the main Muscat-Sur Highway.
There’s even a toilet here in the lot, so use it before you set out.
You will need to take a small boat across the river to the other side.
Short on time? Check out my one week Oman road trip itinerary
Taking The Boat Across The River At Wadi Shab
Go to the small dock, it’s as simple as that. Men drive back and forth all day long, so no need to worry about waiting long. It will cost you 1 OMR for the ride across. (You don’t have to pay for the return).
The Hike In To Wadi Shab
Once to the other side of the river, you’ll begin your hike. The canyon is pretty wide as you begin the first section of the trek, but it will continue to get narrower.
Hiking From The Trailhead To The Wadi Shab Pools
The first section starts out easy and then begins to climb up a bit to eventually reveal a gorgeous blue pool. Unfortunately, you can’t swim in this one but you can admire it from the trail.
From here the hike gets a bit trickier as the path climbs up along the wadi wall. Do be careful as the path does get narrow and it’s quite high up. Use extreme caution if the path is wet at all.
With all that said, this is one of the prettiest sections of the hike with a view straight down into the turquoise pools.
Looking for more adventure in Oman? Go bash dunes and camp under the stars in the Wahiba Sands
This last section of the trek continues uphill, where you’ll pass some boulders and eventually the wadi will run dry (or nearly dry). Continue trekking in to finally reach the end of the trek and the pool in which you can swim in.
Swimming At The Wadi Shab Pools
Swimming At The Wadi Shab Pools
(Sorry, I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture of the first pool we swam at)
The First Wadi Shab Pool
This is the most popular of the pools at Wadi Shab. There are plenty of good places to lay out towels and leave your bags before getting in.
The pool is a bit narrow in the middle but widens on either end. This pool is also relatively shallow.
Don’t miss the gorgeous Bimmah Sinkhole nearby
The Second Pool
You’ll reach the second pool by continuing out of the first pool and following a creek.
There’s not anywhere to really leave belongings at the second pool, so leave everything at the first pool before setting out unless you have a waterproof bag. The second pool is quite deep compared to the first.
The Third Pool
The third pool is the longest and deepest of the three pools. I only recommend visiting the waterfall cave at the far end of the third pool if you are a decent swimmer and confident in your ability. You can find spots along the walls to grab onto to take breaks as it’s a long swim.
The Wadi Shab Waterfall In A Cave
At the far end of the third pool, you’ll see a narrow slot in the rocks that you have to swim through to access the cave. This is the part I do not recommend unless you’re a decent swimmer or at least good at treading water to keep yourself afloat.
Once inside there’s a giant waterfall. When we visited there were people cliff diving from the top of the waterfall into the pool inside the cave. There’s a spot to the right of the waterfall where you can get out of the water and climb up.
Alternatively, there was a rope on the outside of the cave to the left of the slot we swam through to enter where people would climb up and through a while and access the waterfall that way.
Looking for more things to add to your Oman itinerary? Check out the 12 best things to do in Oman for ideas
What To Pack For The Wadi Shab Hike
This isn’t a super long hike, most people would reach the first pool you can swim at in roughly one hour. There are sections where you’ll be exposed so I recommend carrying sunscreen or covering up to avoid sunburn.
A daypack would be wise to carry water, your camera/phone, a towel, and snacks. The trail, as mentioned before does have some sections where it is a little tricky so I’d recommend a hiking boot or hiking sandal for this trek.
I also recommend grabbing a copy of the Bradt Oman guidebook to help you plan your trip in Oman.
Find out everything you need to know to get a Dubai-Oman Common Visa or and Oman E-Visa
Have Any Questions About Hiking In Wadi Shab?
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