Muscat Treks: Fanja Tabletop Mountain Trek

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 Saal Mountain, Aint Trek, and Ruwi Mountains Trek. Although Fanja Tabletop Mountain is not technically in Muscat (Fanja is in Al Dakhiliyah region) I still consider it part of this series as it within a relatively short driving distance from Muscat so to meet my requirements of being easily accessible from Muscat to do on an afternoon 🙂

Fanja Tabletop Mountain (جبل فنجا) is flat topped mountain in Fanja that can be distinctively seen from the Muscat-Dakhiliyah highway. The mountain itself, at approximately 520m elevation, can be easily overlooked as it blends quite easily with the surrounding hills and mountains; however, once you notice it – you will definitely find it hard to overlook it again as you drive past on the highway!

This is exactly what happened with a friend of mine, who kept mentioning this ‘tabletop looking mountain‘ and urging us to trek up there sometime. Now, the original Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa is obviously quite more impressive, and I was not sure if using a similar name is suitable, especially with some other possible choices (e.g. Horse Saddle Mountain was my choice, which I saw someone else mentioning on Wikiloc I believe). However, ultimately I thought to keep it as ‘Tabletop Mountain” as this was what my friend used and he also happens to be from Fanja – so here we are!

Sa’al Mountain can be seen here, third peak from your left

We eventually agreed on a date to try the trek and on an early Saturday morning we left Muscat before sunrise to climb up Fanja Tabletop Mountain. We climbed up the face of the mountain which was not a very smart choice as the face is really steep with lots of loose rocks, despite how often I go trekking up steep edges and that I don’t really have fear of heights – this trek made me quite scared! The climb on this steep ridge up took under an hour (with plenty of stops), and we then reached the flat expanse of the ‘tabletop’ which was quite impressive and gives you beautiful views of Fanja town, the highway as well as the surrounding mountains. You can also easily spot the peak of Sa’al Mountain nearby. You can also see quite a few shrubs up there, which looked interesting but besides that there really isn’t much else to do up there. However, being at the top we saw a much easier route back down which loops you around the mountain through the wadi and back – much safer and easier and a route I definitely recommend if you want to go up there!

I was quite happy to go up Fanja Tabletop Mountain, and enjoyed the views. I don’t think it is a ‘stunning’ mountain to visit or anything, but if you are looking to do something different than the usual – then why not give it a try especially since it is easily accessible from Muscat! An added bonus is that once you are done you can spend some time exploring Fanja which has a very nice souq, beautiful Falaj system as a semi-intact old village with houses, gates and views over wadi Fanja – I definitely need to write another post about Fanja itself.

Fanja Tabletop Mountain Trek Considerations & Trek Map:

The trek is not marked and you have to figure out your way as you go – do not attempt to go through the rock face but instead loop around the mountain to find the wadi and go up the steady climb from there. That trek up Fanja Tabletop Mountain takes just under 300m elevation gain (as recorded with my Garmin watch) and isn’t much to make it overly exerting if you’re reasonably fit – it took us just over 2 hours total (with plenty of stops) to trek up and back down from Fanja Tabletop Mountain. Take suitable footwear with you, ideally hiking boots but tennis shoes will also do, and pack sufficient amount of water with you. As I advise on these short treks, attempt to do this at sunrise or sunset to avoid the direct sun.

You may download the map of my Fanja Tabletop Mountain trek as .kml file (compatible with Google Earth), or .gpx file (to use directly in Garmin devices) as recorded using my Garmin Fenix5 Watch – just keep in mind to avoid repeating my mistake of climbing up the steep edge at the start.

How to get to Fanja Tabletop Mountain:

Fanja Tabletop Mountain can be reached just off the Muscat-Dakhiliyah highway (Highway Number 15). You need to get off the high-way at Al Maha Petrol station before reaching Bidbid (if you’re coming from Muscat) and way before Sultan Qaboos Mosque in Bidbid, and make your way to the location of the pin as shown in the map below:

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