There is no question that Jabel Akhdar (or The Green Mountain) is a real treasure of exploration gems. Located in the heart of Hajar Mountains, this is the place where you can find temperatures of 35 degrees when Muscat boils at about 50. More than 15 friendly villages are on the Sayq Plateau, breathing air high above 2000m and is no wonder why Princess Diana enjoyed the place during her visits.
Getting to the start
First important thing to note, before starting your trip, is that you will need a 4wd car to reach the Sayq Plateau. While the road is perfect asphalt all the way up, ROP (Royal Oman Police) decided that only 4wd cars should be allowed to go up for safety. Safety is mostly related not to going up, as more to descending, because most of the 4x4 cars can use the low gear option for slower but safer operation (this saves brakes for overheating as well). Still, I never personally used low-gear for descending, as a manual use of the automatic gearbox will just do the trick. I've seen people using low-gear, but I only felt that they slow down the traffic unnecessary. Note that if your car is not a 4wd, you can still rent one from Birkat al Mouz from about 35 OMR / day.
How to get to the start of the track? Well, very simple. From Muscat follow the Nizwa Road and exit the highway towards Birkat al Mouz / Al Jabal al Akhdar. Pass by University of Nizwa campus and take left. At the roundabout after the Oman Oil station, take right and just keep going. In the center of little town take left, passing by the fort of Birkat al Mouz and entering the mountains. Keep on going and just bit after the first steep ramps you will discover the ROP checkpoint. Only 4wd cars are allowed after this point.
The Track in Jabel Akhdar is not what we call an offroad track for sure. Mostly because it is perfect asphalt everywhere. Still you will enjoy some steep driving on the bends, while you and your passengers can see one of the most amazing views of Oman. Once you reach the plateau and pass by the Jabel Akhdar hotel, the road will split in two main directions: towards Alila Hotel and towards Wadi Bani Habib village. If you have enough time, explore both roads, but for me it took two days. Both options are easy driving roads, but you can always spicy your sensations if you take a side offroad path. I recommend to try the one just before descending to Sayq village to the left, as you will discover some real mesmerizing views!
Jabel Akhdar is for sure a treasure of landmarks and views. Any visitor can enjoy the amazing views of mountains and deep valleys and breath one of the best air in Oman. On the way towards Wadi Bani Habib, you can discover the Diana's viewpoint, take an overview of the village of Al Ain from the steep descent to the village, discover the relic of a British fighter crashed in Jabal Akhdar during the Rebellion and walk in Wadi Bani Habib. The old Wadi Bani Habib village is a very spectacular view, especially as it is mostly surrounded by green vegetation. Note also the nice offroad path you can discover if you take left just before descending into Sayq village, which will give you the view on the opposite side of Diana's viewpoint.
The way to the 5 start hotel branded by Alila is a bit longer, but just few kilometers before the hotel you can enjoy a totally magnificent view from a cliff on the left side (as you go towards the hotel). The view is totally 5 start as well. Staying at the hotel will definitely be an unforgettable experience, but it can be really expensive, especially during the peak touristic periods of the year.
Overall: You will discover some unforgettable experiences for sure on this trip, so it is a must-go!
35.4 km, 00:11:49
35.4 km, 00:11:49