Arriving at Wadi Shab at high tide means it requires a ferry ride across to the far bank to enable a way to get along the wadi.
This is one of the most beautiful in Oman and after spending just a few hours there I am enamoured by its charms. It extends several kilometres inland however it is not necessary to go more than a kilometre into the chasm to become enchanted by the experience. Stunning emerald coloured pools screaming to be swum in, rock walls pockmarked with small caves and palm trees in clusters providing some shade.
There are huge boulders scattered haphazardly throughout forming a jumbled terrain of rock obstacles perfect for scrambling around.
Doctor fish swim around in the river of Wadi Shab, they enjoy snacking off the feet of any weary hiker taking a moment to soak their feet in the stream. I gave it a try and it was strange to feel their tiny mouths ‘biting’ and watching them cluster around my feet.
Although Wadi Shab is stunning and perfect for taking photographs, this is my favourite image of the day, the boat operator. His face is full of character, weathered and worn from the sun and wind and a life of working outdoors. The perfect portrait of a man who makes his living off the land and river.
His simple working dishdasha seems the ideal choice of clothing for his chosen occupation and contrasts well against his tanned skin. The vibrant blue of his keffiyeh makes the image even more striking. The gaze from his eyes is both fierce and intense, so it is probably a good idea not to forget to pay this particular ferryman.
More from Oman – Postcard from the Sand Mountains of Wahiba Sands