Muscat Treks: Al Aqabiah Pool


As of late 2020, I heard from some that they experienced hostile reaction from some locals who were not happy with visitors coming to Al Aqabiah Pools . The villagers have been experiencing problems with some visitors (damaging the falaj, swimming in appropriate swimwear, etc.), and have decided to not welcome any visitor to Al Aqabiah Pool anymore. This is especially since they still rely on the pool and falaj (irrigation system) for their livelihood. You will see signboards warning of trespassing before entering Al Aqabiah, and also at the wadi itself – and I am told that they will also ask you to leave and report you to police. I am not sure of the legal mandate here (especially since the wadi is public place), but it is clear that visitors are not welcome.

Therefore, please avoid visiting Al Aqabia village or pool if not out of respect for the villagers, then to avoid any drama or potential issues with the police. Luckily, there are still many other amazing places to visit in Oman that are welcoming to visitors, so check them out instead

Muscat Treks Series in this series I will be writing about some of the treks and unmarked trails in and around Muscat, ones that can be completed in a relatively short time making them ideal as an easy weekend outdoor activity or a post-work trek for anyone living in Muscat. For similar posts of this series check out my posts on Aint TrekBanday Al Khayran TrekFanja Tabletop MountainMuttrah GeoTrekSa’al MountainSidab Coastal Trek, and Ruwi Mountains Trek. Now, let’s get into Al Aqabiah Pool!

Al Aqabiah Pool (عين العقبية) is a gorgeous pool located a short walk from the village of Al Aqabiah (قرية العقبية) in Bowshar region of Muscat. Al Aqabiah Pool is within a stunning depression of the rocks within a massive cliff side of the wadi, and has continuous flowing water throughout the year. The pool is actually very deep (I am not good at diving underwater at all but it looked to me that it can easily easily >4m in depth) but is not very large, and the area itself can get quickly busy in that if more than one group visited, it might feel like a crowd. You can also see the falaj channel feeding the water from the pool to Al Aqabiah village farms. The pool is easily accessible from the village, making it very popular for locals and village boys to go for a dip, so expect to see others if you decide to go for a visit 🙂

I believe the area has more stunning features to offer besides Al Aqabiah Pool, but I have personally only managed to explore the wadi properly as my two visits there where during peak summer time (with limited time as well!). If you continue the trek by scrambling above the cliff-side of Al Aqabiah Pool, you can come across another pool and some more falaj channels connecting them, but they look slightly trickier to reached – beyond that the wadi continues with no water in sight (that I could see at least) but with lots of amazing boulders and narrow passages – exploring it further is another thing to add under my always-expanding ‘to-do’ list!

Visitng Al Aqabiah Pool Considerations

A few things I wish to highlight if you decide to visit Al Aqabiah Pool:

  • The trek is not difficult, but there are some bits you need to scramble especially to reach the pool – these can be very slippery so please be cautious. It can take 10-15 mins to reach Al Aqabiah Pool from the end of the asphalt road at Al Aqabiah Village. I have recorded my trek using my Garmin Fenix 5 watch, which you may download here (and here for the Google Maps supported version), as always the Garmin GPS goes haywire in wadis with poor signal, but it should give you rough idea hopefully.
  • Al Aqabiah Pool is deep – please don’t risk it if you don’t know how to swim!
  • Please be considerate when parking your car at Al Aqabiah village. The end of the asphalt road is right where a few houses are located, and where villagers park their cars. There is no designated ‘visitors’ car park’, so most would park their car right at the end of the road, but you can imagine the place getting filled up quickly if more than a couple of visiting cars are parked, and where the villages could start getting disturbed. So please be considered, ensure you are not blocking anyone’s house or car, and be prepared to park further away from that area if it looks busy!
  • Unfortunately, rubbish is a huge problem in this area – it will be fantastic if you could take a rubbish bag with you and collect whatever you can – there is a large rubbish bin right at the end of the asphalt road/car park. There is just way too much rubbish thrown there (and may I say, continuously so – as I noticed fresh rubbish thrown between my visits even though it was only one day in between) – this is particular at Al Aqabiah Pool area as it seems many people who visit and swim there just keep their rubbish there too (yuck!). You will likely even encounter/witness some leaving or throwing rubbish during your visit, the best action in my opinion is to just pick it up in front of them without saying anything to them, this is a great way to show them how uncivilized their action is!
  • You will very likely encounter villagers at the car park, in the wadi, or at the pool – even though it is a swimming pool, it is still not appropriate to wear a bikini/short shorts, and especially at the start of the trek. So please observe and respect Omani cultural norms by dressing appropriately out of the car, and only changing in your bathing suits at the pool, and avoid swimming in bikinis/very short shorts.

Getting to Al Aqabiah Pool

Al Aqabiah village is part of Muscat, and can be reached by following the road beyond Al Ansab – you need to take the turn to the village which comes after passing Falaj Al Sham and Al Awabi (if you have reached Sa’al then you have gone too far) – it is <30 mins drive from Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, which makes it very convenient for a quick trip out of the city. Al Aqabiah pool itself is a short walk into Wadi Al Aqabiah:

Aqabiah Trek Gallery

(I did not actually take my camera during the trek here, so we have to make do with the phone photos until I go again with enough time and energy to take photos with my Nikon :))

2 replies on “Muscat Treks: Al Aqabiah Pool”

Salaam Ali
A friend of mine and I went about three weeks ago. The police came and regsitered our cars and left. A man from the village spoke to me for about 20 minutes telling us the problems and difficulties they face with people coming to their village and swimming in the pool.

Supposedly they pay for the water and own it through a sharing system. They have had people break the falaj covers and people entering their homes and making a general mess of the area.

They have three warning signs:
1. At the bend in the road as you drive towards the village.
2. On the side of the houses as you enterbthe wadi
3. At the pool.

They have asked that all references to their villge be removed if we see them online and to let people know they are not welcome to their village.

I think one should respect the people at the village.
I remember when we use to travel in the interior in the 70s, the hospitality was amazing but they would always explain to us the falaj was their life line, bearing in mind in those days there’s was no direct water.
Swimming in the pool was a No No and we respected. I guess time has changed and the young generation mentality is different.

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