Hiking the Hanging Gardens


Picture the scene: wispy clouds in a blue sky, a rainbow overhead, complete silence and not a soul in sight. Bliss right? Add to it hiking in a rocky mountain terrain, the fact my shoes are falling apart, it’s a sweaty 35C in the midday sun and the drinking water is no longer cold.

I genuinely love visiting Oman and this time it was the Hanging Gardens just outside Buraimi that took our fancy, but it was with some difficulty that we reached the viewpoint because the book we’ve so trustily put our faith into on such excursions, although successfully brought us to the mouth of the wadi (dry river bed), failed on its next instruction, which was: “walk straight up the steep scree slope on your right, heading directly away from the stream bed and the lone tree.” This wouldn’t have been such an impossible task if all other trees had ceased to grow for the last six months!

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View from the top of Hanging Gardens

Instead we hiked a short way into the wadi before my husband declared that this here must be the lone tree. I eyed him suspiciously and asked: “Are you sure? How do you know that? There are loads of trees around here.” To which the response came, “Well, look at it.”

Still not convinced, I swallowed my argument and began the treacherous ascent, yet it wasn’t far up when I started wailing that this was clearly not the right path and that one of us was likely to slip to a rather gruesome end. I waited while he scouted new routes before proclaiming he’d found the path and the lone tree. Despite it lacking all semblance of a path, it was in the least a far calmer route than the previous one and the views from high up were definitely worth it.

The remaining walk was tough in the heat and unfortunately, on any descent my legs take on the substance of jelly, leaving me painfully slow at hiking back. However it was a worthy day out of the city and we took full advantage by camping on a plateau around an hour away. As the sun set, it was time for a well-earned barbecue, stargazing and sleep. If only the stillness hadn’t spooked us and sent us packing back to the city, I’m pretty sure the sunrise would have been as incredible as the majestic mountains we’d hiked in earlier that day. Another trip is on the list soon!

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