Travel Info

Jabal Shams

Information on activities, hiking routes and places to stay at Jabal Shams, the highest mountain Oman.

Jabal Shams (جبل شمس) (sometimes also spelled as Jebel Shams) is the highest mountain in Oman, right in the heart of the Western Hajar Mountain chain in Al Dakhiliyah region, which also host Jabal Akhdar. Jabal Shams is one of the must-see attractions for any visitor to Oman, with views of the Al Nakhur Canyon so spectacular to be labelled as “The Grand Canyon” of Arabia, as well as its mild climate, exciting trekking paths and off-road adventures it offers.

Jabal Shams literally means the “Sun Mountain” in Arabic, and it is so called because it is the first place to receive sunrise in Oman due to having the highest peak. The temperatures up in the mountain are mild and are usually 10-15°C cooler at Al Hamra, pleasant in the summer and cold in the winter (with the occasional snow!!). Jabal Shams offers various activities for all people, whether you are interested in night photography, demanding hike to the peak, exploring abandoned villages, camping under the stars or just a bit of off-roading. I have been to Jabal Shams on numerous occasions for one or a combination of all reasons above.

Jabal Shams for Camping

For many, the main reason to go to Jabal Shams is to camp by the edge of the Canyon, which offers a good escape from the heat in the summer and can be quite cold in the winter months (even below zero degrees Celsius, believe it or not!). Depending on who you ask, this is the best place to stay at Jabal Shams and I can’t disagree with that! The most popular location to camp is right by the edge of the canyon, a short drive after the paved road stops immediately following Jabal Shams Resort. Keep in mind that there are only a few suitable camping spots and they could get crowded on public holidays or weekends during the winter months so you may have to settle elsewhere if all the spots are taken. Alternative options are to camp on the opposite side of the road across the edge, where you could get a more private spot, but be careful while driving there as there are many sharp rocks (packing a thick blanket or mattress is highly recommended). Wherever you choose to camp, a beautifully illuminated night sky and an amazing sunrise is likely in store for you!

Jabal Shams for Star Gazing / Night Photography

Jabal Shams is a great place to escape the city lights and gaze at the starlit night sky, and experiment a bit with night photography if you’re into that. The conditions have to be right, as you will need a clear moonless sky, and you could get lucky with a view of the milky way as well. Even though the ‘accessible’ areas are still reasonably fine for this, there is still a bit of light pollution from the nearby hotels, and from Al Hamra village in the bottom; therefore, for best results try stargazing closer to the peak, away from light pollution sources, which you will reach if you take the W4 route (more on this later).

Hiking in Jabal Shams:

There are three marked hiking routes at Jabal Shams (at least that I am aware of, let me know if there are others I don’t know): Al Nakhur Rim Hike / Saab Bani Khamis (W6 Route), also known as The Balcony Walk, Al Khitaym To Wadi Ghul Hike (W6a Route), and the Jabal Shams Sumit Hike (W4 Route).

1) Al Nakhur Rim Hike / Saab Bani Khamis (W6 Route) AKA The Balcony Walk

The Jabal Shams Balcony Walk is the most recommended route for casual hikes as it is an easy hike through the rim of the ‘Grand Canyon’ starting from Al Khitaym village(الخطيم) . This is the village at the end of the road at Jabal Shams, right at the edge of the canyon. As you get in the village and past the ‘stalls’ set up by the villagers, you will notice the white, red and yellow flags indicating the start of routes W6 & W6a.

The route takes you from Al Khitaym village through the rim of Al Nakhur Canyon (وادي النخر), with spectacular views of the canyon and villages in the bottom. The route is well paved with gentle slopes, taking you past a couple of corners that are worth a stop to take in the view, all the way to an abandoned village called “Sab Bani Khamis (ساب بني خميس)” where you can see traces of terraced gardens, towers and houses. Try to keep an eye out for these if you are also looking into the canyon from the main paved road above, as if you look carefully you could clearly see the terraced gardens.

There is a hidden water pool accessible with a bit of scrambling from the abandoned village, but it is not immediately obvious how to get there as you need to zig-zag as you climb up beyond the village – this offers some spectacular scenery if you like photography. In addition, there is a ‘Via Ferrata’ climbing route up to the Jabal Shams plateau from here, which is an extremely, adrenaline pumping adventure that could take anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on your fitness and fear (or lack of fear) of heights! Overall, the roundtrip Balcony Walk hike from Al Khitaym village to the abandoned village of Sab Bani Khamis shouldn’t take you more than 2.5 hours on way, and is an easy hike suitable for all levels (even for the younger ones).

Al Khitaym village on its own is a worth visiting, as it is call-back and reminder of how these traditional villagers continue to live up on these tough mountain. You will villagers offering various fossils, trinkets and woven keychains (cool for souvenirs) for sale on benches, as well as some fruits and mountain berries from the mountain. The villagers of Al Khitaym also keep numerous goats and fowls – keep in mind that there are no wild goats in Oman and all the goats you encounter encounter up at Jabal Shams are owned by villagers whether from this village or other ones.

2) Al Khitaym To Wadi Ghul Hike (W6a Route)

The hike from Al Khitaym Village to Wadi Ghul (W6a route) can be done in either direction, or as a one-way trek as long as you leave a car at the other end or arrange transport back to your starting point. I have done the trek starting from Wadi Ghul up to Al Khitaym village, and it is a steep and tough trek but with great views of Al Nakhur and Ghul canyons, as well as lots of ancient stone-built pseudo-towers that were probably used at some point by the inhabitants of the area as look-out points. If you do the trek as looped trek, then I recommend starting from the bottom side as you will do the hardest bit first. The ascent requires over a 1,000m elevation gain, and ends at about 1,900m elevation – you can continue from there onto W6 Route to do the Balcony Walk. I personally did the trek only once, and it took us over 5 hrs to ascend up, due to many stops and someone in our group getting ill, but if you’re reasonably fit you can expect to be able to finish the ascent in 3-3.5 hrs.

You may download the map of my hike from Wadi Ghul to Al Khitaym village (W6a) using the links below, as recorded using my Garmin Fenix 5 Watch. Please note that these files are for the trek going in only (you need to loop back the same way to return), and include the many stops we did along the way:

3) Jabal Shams Summit Hike (W4 Route)

This is ‘the hike to do‘ in Jabal Shams, and is a steep climb up the plateau all the way to the ‘summit’. To start the hike, you need to take the turn off at the Sama Heights Resort from the main road (which has been re-branded from ‘Jabal Shams Heights Resort‘ which used to cause confusion due to having Jabal Shams Resort further up), and follow the graded road to a wadi with an open space suitable for parking and a sign indicating the start of the W4 route.

The hike is quite steep and can be demanding especially if you’re a casual hiker. A roundtrip should take anywhere from 10-12 hours, with the ascent taking 5-7 hours depending on how many stops you take (and 1,000m elevation gain). Many people split the hike over two days by camping up near the peak, to make the most of the visit and enjoy the hike instead of rushing to do it in a single day. The disadvantage is that during the winter months the weather can get extremely cold, and it is hard to find a suitable flat ground for camping. In addition, carrying the extra load needed (food, water, tent and sleeping bag) on the ascent makes it much more challenging. I personally prefer doing the hike on a single day, starting very early and timing it so I am back to camp site before it gets day.

About an hour into the hike, you’ll reach the edge of the canyon with some more great views that are worth stopping at for some photos, and this is a place worth going even if you don’t intend to do the full hike. Keep in mind that the ‘summit’ reached in the hike is not the actual summit, instead it is ~2,997 m high while the highest summit (~3,009 m high) is a restricted area due to a military outpost location.

How to get to Jabal Shams:

Jabal Shams is a about 250 kms from Muscat, and is accessible from Al Hamra village which is ~2 hour drive from Muscat. The drive from Al Hamra up to Jabal Shams shouldn’t take more than an hour, and is partially paved with large sections that are graded and steep. Even though smaller cars can be occasionally seen up on Jabal Shams, 4WD cars are definitely recommended especially since the steep mountain road get occasionally washed out due to rain, becoming impassable for smaller cars. The following map shows all the attractions and Jabal Shams hiking routes I have written about:

Places to Stay at Jabal Shams (besides camping)

If you’d like something more than camping, there are a few places up in Jabal Shams. As you drive up you will pass first by Sama Heights Resort and then by Jabal Shams Resort a bit of a drive further up. There is a also a third place called Jabal Shams Sunrise Resort, which is located quite a bit of drive away on the other side of the mountain. I have personally stayed only at ‘Jabal Shams Sunrise Resort’, which is decent enough if you want to running water and a bed to sleep on, but really quite basic so don’t expect anything fancy or overly luxurious. I tend to think it is a bit of the same with the other two (Perhaps! Please share your thoughts in the comments if you have stayed there).

Another option is to stay overnight at Misfat Al Abriyeen in Al Hamra, either after or before going up Jabal Shams. Of course the only place there is the Misfat Old House. There are now quite a number of guesthouse and small hotels in Misfat and Al Hamra that you could chose from, so take your pick. This may not be ideal if you’re planning to watch sunrise or star gaze, but worth keeping in mind if you’re not sure where to sleep around in Jabal Shams.

Jabal Shams Photo Gallery

73 replies on “Jabal Shams”

First of all, you have a fantastic blog about Oman with a lot of useful information for a traveler!
We are coming to Oman in the end of December and have plans to camp around the country as much as possible. But I am wondering what it means for you “quite cold in the winter months” for camping? 🙂
If the average temperature for Muscat is in december/january 22C, does that mean that we can expact in Jebel Shams and for example also in Wakan and Bilad Sayt around 10-15C? And how much colder does it get by night?

Glad to hear you found the information helpful Miha.

Generally, the numbers you mentioned seems about right and temperatures at night will be a few degrees lower. Now it can occasionally get colder, and if you’re camping in an exposed area with strong winds it may make for a very chilly night. I have personally experienced 0-5°C temperatures camping up at Jabal Shams in January with really cold winds. I haven’t camped near Wakan and Bilad Sayt, but I doubt it’ll get anywhere close to the temperatures at Jabal Shams.

Obviously, this is manageable especially if you’re used to colder weather, but it is just something to take into account when packing for your camping gear and also choosing your camping spot. I wanted to highlight it, as some might expect to be fine with a t-shirt or a thin jacket 🙂


Hi Ali,

Thanks for the very informative guide it was helpful in planning our trip for February. Was wondering on a few can answer a few questions. Is there a marking for the camping site you mentioned? “a short drive after the paved road stops immediately following Jabal Shams Resort” or is it easily spotted after the Resort?. Also if we plan to do the W6 OR W6A trek can we park the car at the village?


Hi Yocoub,

Glad you found the information helpful. There are no markings showing that this is a camp site, but it hard to miss as it is the area overlooking the canyon immediately after ‘Jabal Shams Resort’. The area gets very popular and unless you go super early you will likely others camping in there too, in which case you may try checking for spots on the other side of the road (which is also handy as there is a bit of shelter from the wind).

And yes, you can park at the small carpark by the village before the W6 trek!

Enjoy your trip and let us know if you got any other questions!


Hey Ali,

Thanks for this great post about Jabal Shams. We are planning to hike the W4 also in two days in March and want to camp on the summit of Jabal Shams. At what height did you camp during your W4 hike? And around what time did you arrive at the summit that day?

Thank you!

Hi Stephan,

Thanks, happy to hear that!

I don’t quite remember the elevation of the point we camped, but it was not too far off the top (hence why it was freezing cold), if I remember correctly our camping spot was just over an hour or so hike from the summit. We left early in the morning (from our first camp site near the Canyon edge) and reached the summit by 3-4 pm, although you can probably do it much faster as we were quite close that day (it was my first real hiking experience personally that day!).


Yes, we did it! I think we camped almost at the same spot, I think it was 2hours from the top at around 2500m height. Great views from there 🙂

Thanks for the information!

Is this safe for a solo traveler? Do you know of any cheap camping stores in muscat for hiring basic utilities, tent & stovetop, pots / fork?

Hi Lisa,

Its pretty safe in Oman for solo travelers, but its best to be with others when going to relatively remote areas/camping, in case you are in an emergency or have a problem etc.. You can buy camping gear from some of the local hypermarkets (Lulu hypermarket, Sultan Center in Qurum etc..), they’re not the best quality but should do for a quick camping trip 🙂


Great report on the beauties of Oman!
I actually think of cycling the 4WD road up to Jebal Shams. However, I found on the internet some information the road is said to be partly prohibited to public because of military restricted areas. I now wonder if it is possible to cycle alle the way up on that road. It is my understanding that the road leads to the northern peak being a restricted area. Do you know which parts of the road are restricted? Is only the northern summit area prohibited but the rest of road permitted to public traffic and cyclists?

Best regards

Hi Rainer,

Thanks for that! And sorry I missed your comment earlier, hence the late reply!

You can cycle up to Jabal Shams even from Al Hamra side – I have occasionally came across people cycling when I go there. You just have to just be extra careful as you’ll be sharing the road with cars driving on a dusty road! The portion of the road restricted is tiny compared to the amount you can cycle there, so I wouldn’t let it stop my plans. The portion that is blocked is a service road to the military base, and you will see a sign on the road showing when you are approaching it (it is off the road leading to ‘Jabal Shams Sunrise resort’, not even off the ‘main’ road up in Jabal Shams).

Hope that helps.


Hi Ali

I got invited by my 85 year old mom for a trip through Oman. I am sooo excited. After seeing your photos even more so!!!!
Anyway, we will be traveling in May and we will be visiting Jabal Shams May 6th. She signed me up for the W6 hike. I am a pretty avid outdoors person but can’t figure out if I need to carry hiking boots along or if I could do it in my Keens. Those are pretty well protected sandals (more shoes than sandals almost) with solid soles. I use them at home for any hikes that aren’t super long or on glaciers.
Also, I can’t find the temperatures for this area. We will spend the night in the View Camp close to Al Hamra. Could you help me out with what to bring? I know the rest of the trip will be very hot.
Thank you so much for the wonderful pictures and tips and I hope you can help me out.

Hi Evie,

I am glad to hear that my photos are having an positive impact 🙂 And I am sure you will enjoy your trip to Oman!

Now for your questions:
1) I haven’t personally used ‘Keens’ before but heard great things about them, and I think they’ll suit your requirements for the W6 hike. The hike isn’t difficult and there is a nice path you follow, with little to no scrambling required (during one visit there was a small part covered with rocks due to a landslide, but it was still easy to navigate in my ‘merrell’ sandals, so I wouldn’t worry). So I’d say no need to bring your hiking boots (unless you plan to do other longer hikes of course).

2) Temperatures by May will start to get hot unfortunately (we are hitting the late 30s here in Muscat already!). I haven’t stayed in Al Hamra over night before; however, The View Hotel near Al Hamra isn’t quite at the same elevation at Jabal Shams and I don’t expect the temperatures to be that much cooler. If I was to guess, I’d say 15-20 will be the absolute minimum at night. Therefore, I would say that just having one light jacket should be enough. If you plan to stay at Jabal Shams past sunset, it might get a bit colder than that though, so if that was the plan maybe just a slightly heavier jacket 🙂

I hope the above is of some help, feel free to email me if you got any other questions!


Hi Ali

Thank you so much for your response. It was very helpful!
So, I think I got most of the packing down.
I do have another question but think I will email you about it. Then I get the response without having to go search for it 🙂

Hi, im in Nizwa at the moment thinking about driving tomorrow to Jebel Shams with rebates 2WD Toyota Prius Sedan. Do you know if road has been paved already to the top? I did drive many times in mountains before. I just can’t find anywhere updated information about road from Ghul and further to the top. Thanks for your advice

Hi Simon,

There is only a small section of the road to Jabal Shams that is paved, the major portion is unpaved unfortunately. I have seen small sedan cars all the way at the top on some occassions, but that is highly dependent on the road conditions and how much you are willing to ‘test’ the car 🙂

Hope that helps.


Hi Alimsk, whats the furthest i can go by car where i can get a spectacular view. Im on a time scale and i want to return journey the same day, however I’m in cabal akbar the day before so I’m not sure if there is any point to come here if the view will be relatively the same

Hi Mona,

In my opinion, the view in Jabal Shams is worth the extra drive and it is definitely ‘different’ than Jabal Akhder’s view.. more rugged terrain and a vast beautiful canyon. Depending on how fast you drive, you could take anywhere from 1 to 1.5hr to reach the viewpoint from when you start at Al Hamra. The best viewpoint in my opinion is the ‘balcony walk’ view, just opposite where the stalls were locals sell some souvenirs and immediately off the paved road section before reaching Jabal Shams Resort.

Hope that helps,


Hi Ali, great job! thank you lots for this info:) would like to ask you if you could give us some advice on whether it would be possible to climb Jebel Shams during the night, so that we could watch the sunrise being at the top, and than get down at the early morning, before the real heat starts? Which road to choose? W4?
W6? Do you know if there are any guides who could help us to get to the top over the night not getting lost?
thanks for any advice:)

Hi Aleksandra,

Sorry for the late reply!

I would generally advise against trying to climb at night, especially if it is your first time. Even though the track is reasonably straightforward, it is easy to lose the flag markers during the day, let alone at night! My advise to see sunrise there is to hike during the day and camp up there, and you get to see sunrise over there.

This generally applies for W4 route, while W6 route (along the canyon rim) is much easier and has a clearly marked path to follow, so that should be possible at night (as long as you are prepared and have enough flashlights etc..).

I am not aware of any guides offering night treks there; however, there is a few advertising on instagram and such that you may be able to contact. I also do freelance tours from time to time, so flick me an email if you’d like more information 🙂


Hey Ali! Great blog!
Just a quick question. Is it too hot to do this in July? And I’ve read somewhere that it gets really windy at the top so camping is not the best option. Can you please comment on camping conditions near the top.

Thanks a lot in advance!


Hi Zain,

I have camped there before in July and it was not windy at all, in fact it was great temperature at night! It is true that the it can get quite windy at the top and difficult to find a shelter, but I think its worth a try. Obviously, now we are well past July, so sorry for late response! Winter should be fun to camp there too; however, it can get extremely cold (even 0°C) and with the wind factor it will be very chilly.


hi Ali
just back from balcony walk
great place

i believe its the wadi Gul/Nakhr that you see from the top of shams
is it possible to drive to the wadi from Al Hamra
plan is to camp at wadi and trek the distance
hope u see this in time
planing to do in dec 7/8/9

Hi Kapila,

Glad to see you enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I haven’t explored driving into the wadi before; however, it indeed looks like it is possible to trek inside, and perhaps even drive as I remember seeing some houses way down. Sorry can’t be of more help! Let me know if you manage to go there 🙂


nice to hear from you Ali
planning to do wadi Gul in the next two weeks
will post my experience here

Hi Rev,


I’ve seen people drive up Jabal Shams with a small saloon car (like Mazda 3); however, I would not recommend it as the mountain path is uneven and has lots of bumps, so may damage your car. And if the road conditions deteriorate (after rain for example) it may make parts of it inaccessible with the car.


Sure thing. I was actually up there again yesterday (24-Nov), and was surprised to see quite a few small cars there (including a Toyota Yaris)! Again, I don’t recommend it, but it people are making it up there with it 🙂

Hi Ali,

Great post and many thanks for the valuable information.
I am about to go to Oman myself now in December and though time is quite tight, I’d love to spend 1.5 / 2 days in Jabal Shams and do a few treks.

And I was wondering: how did you get back to the car if you started from Jabal Shams Heights Resort? Did you trek back the same way? Are there any accommodations on the other side -> Qarn al Ghamaydah

And coming back to camping, reading your post I should expect temperatures dropping to almost 0 Degrees during the night, right?


Hi Daniel,

Thanks, glad to hear you find the information helpful!

We indeed trekked back down to the same way we came – back to Jabal Shams Heights Resort (it has now been re-branded as Sama Heights Resort – I’ve updated the post with this information). There are no accommodation options near the peak at Qarn al Ghamaydah (I did not know that was the name), so you will need to book one of the three options or camp.

Indeed, the temperatures will be very low at night in December! I was there last weekend and it was already 14 degC just before sunset, so make sure you are prepared for that 🙂



Great article. I have a quick question. Once you have reached the summit at Jabal Shams do you have to go back the same way. A colleague is going in August and seems to think he can carry on and eventually reach Bald Sayt. Is this corret/feasible?


Hi Cameron,

I am not aware of a marked trail continuing on from the summit onwards to Balad Sayt, although that is entirely possible since the Northern summit is clearly visible when driving towards Balad Sayt – perhaps there is a non-marked trail that eventually connects to W8!

Sorry can’t be of much more help for now, but do update us on how your colleague goes about it 🙂


Hi) coming to Oman beginning of January with husband 12 & 14 yr old. Want to hike\ camp. Can we buy tent at Lulu or hypermarket? Do u know approx price for 3-4 person tent, or bring from home?

Hi Tara,

You could buy a tent in Lulu or other hypermarkets (Sultan Center in Qurum and Carrefour have large collections usually), I don’t really know the prices but they are more like cheaper brands (Chinese made) not super high quality.

Hi Ali,

First of all great post with plenty of useful advice and beautiful photos! I’m going to climb up on Jabal 9-10.01 with camping overnight somewhere near the top. I’ve heard (although cannot verify if this is true) that one should pay attention to scorpions and vipers in Oman. Is it the case when climbing and staying overnight on Jabal?

Many thanks in advance

Hi Marcin,

Thanks, I’m glad you found my post helpful 🙂

I’ve been to Jabal Shams many, many times and I have not encountered any vipers or scorpions (yet! And hopefully never). Since I’ve started blogging about outdoors and visiting the area, I’ve only heard of one group that encountered a viper up at Jabal Shams, and that was on social media (so something I couldn’t verify). I would say you will have to be very unlucky to encounter one during your visit or camp. However, do take precautions and sleep in a tent at night 🙂

Have a wonderful time exploring Oman!


I am planning to go to Jebel Shams tomorrow. I want to tell you that I’m going there on a taxi, the guy will drop me somewhere near to Jebel shams only and I’m carrying all the stuff for camping, such as food, tent, sleeping bag, lights etc. I just want to ask you if camping can be done during this weather? I have done many treks in India, and do I have to get any sort of permission to build my own tent and all that? And last question, which all the location you would suggest me to go?

Please reply soon as I am leaving tomorrow.

Thanks and regards.

Hi Atinder,

You should write me much earlier if you need help with these questions,hopefully whatever I suggested was at least helpful and I hope you had a good stay at Jabal Shams.


Hi, we are planning to do a W4 hike with a camping near the top and coming back down in the morning. Unfortunately we will have only 2WD car. Do you have any idea or recommendation how to reach the start of W4 hike? Is there any taxi service that could bring us there and back? or do you there will be enough cars passing by that we can hitchhike? Thank you 🙂

Hello, my wife and i will be staying in Nizwa for a couple of days and would like to see jabal shams on Wednesday Feb 6. I do not feel ok to drive our 2wd rental car up there. Do you know any local guides who can take us up ? We would like to stop for photos along the way (when safe of course) and maybe take a short walk at the top if there is a nice path(no serious hiking,). Thanks, David from Chicago

Hi David,

Yes, I have some contacts of guides or drivers who can take you up there. Please drop me an email for further details and confirmation 🙂


Pls provide me some contacts on who can drive me up to the balcony walk and the hotel. then take me down the next day. I have a 2 WD but not comfortable driving up


u and your team doing fantastic blog about Oman travailing experience
keep continue ….

dear can i know any camping group or hiking team in Oman
to join

We re planning to go to the summit tomorrow morning. The 9 to 10 hours walk.
Does it get warmer as long as we walk?

Hello! I have been reading your blog since the time I have planned to visit Oman. Thank for this information. I am planning to attempt the summit between 30th April to 4May. I have a few questions:
1.How do I go from Muscat to Al Hamra and to Jabal Shams? Do I book a 4×4?
2.This will be my first attempt at any summit. It is safe to attempt it alone?

Hi Miko,
Happy to hear that 🙂

1) You will need a 4WD to go from Al Hamra to Jabal Shams. You can probably get a driver to take you up for a fee if you don’t have a 4WD car.
2) Hiking alone is something I don’t recommend at all, especially for the Jabal Shams summit trek. I am quite experienced and I rarely ever go hike alone and that is for the very short treks that I have done many times before. You can never know what will happen if you twist an ankle or feel unwell etc. The weather is also starting to get quite hot and that is another factor. I highly recommend you do not attempt the trek on your own, perhaps you can consider the Balcony Walk instead.

Thanks for the inspiring blogpost.
We are 2 adults in our 30s staying some days at Alila Jabal Akhdar. We’ll love to combine our stay with a hike at Jebel Shams. We don’t have a car. Can you recommend drivers who can take us to As Sab and do pick ups later?
Thanks 🙌

Hi Ali,

Thanks for this great guide.

I will be staying in Muscat for a week and intend to spend one day traveling to Jebel Shams to hike to the summit and get back.

Can you recommend a driver (with car) whom I could engage to pick me up at Muscat, take me to JS, wait the day and come back in the evening?

Is there anything close to ‘public transport’ that I could use ?

Thanks for your time.

Hi Kumar,

I’m not aware of any public transport to get you there.

It might get a bit expensive to do it the option you described, keeping in mind the drive is ~3-3.5hrs one way from Muscat with a off road mountain road also. To get you an idea transfers to/from Jabal Akhder are usually charges at ~180-200 OMR.

A cheaper option might be to rent car and drive to Al Hamra and then get transfer up Jabal Shams and then back.

If you know what date you’re looking at, drop me an email with which option (pickup from Muscat or Hamra) and I’ll connect you with a suitable contact.


Hi , I want to go there with my husband.Dont know anyone rent a 4WD from hamra and I want to see the snowfall too please recommend best month to see snowfall..!!

It is very rare to have snowfall at Jabal Shams, I believe it has only occurred once or twice before.

To go there, you will need a 4WD – if you know a specific date you want to visit I can help book a driver to take you there from Al Hamra drop me an email if you like.

Great post. We will be there mid january 2023, I was wondering if it’s worthwhile to sleep at Sama Heights (or similar). Prices in Al Hamra are much lower and the distance is not far. Would change the experience a lot to sleep in Al Hamra instead of Jabal Shams? Thanks

It really depends what you’re looking for. The attraction of staying at Jabal Shams is that you’ll be staying at >2,000m elevation in the mountains so the atmosphere and temperature will be different (it will likely be quite cold in January), while Al Hamra is at ~650m elevation and you’re in a village.

Another factor will be the hike you plan to do, if you intend on doing the Jabal Shams summit then staying at Sama Heights is a good option as the trail starts just behind it 🙂

Hope this helps,

Hi Ali,
You have such a great blog.
We are already in Oman and traveling south to Salalah before getting back to the mountains around jabal shams. We are not sure of hiking the w4 but would love to get more information about the via ferrata climb. We would have the equipment if needed with us.
And for the snake canyon (right fork) how long has the rope to be?
What is the best wadi for canyoning with equipment? We did al arbaein, tiwi (lower part) and shams. We are experienced!
And can you recommend a shuttle from the end of snake canyon?
Thanks for your help!

Hi Lisa,

Thanks, happy to hear that.

I should probably update the post with more details. The Via-ferrata climb at end of Jabal Shams starts at the end of the Balcony Walk – it should be no more than ~20mins walk from the ‘Hidden Lake’, its an uphill walk but the path should be more or less clear until you reach area by the wall with tree covering and you should spot the cables there. The route can be split in 3 parts, the first one is the more challenging one as its quite exposed and mostly vertical, if you’re experienced you should be able to do it in ~1-1.5 hrs. Once completed, you will come out of a valley and should be able to spot flags to get out and see the road – this is roughly the area you will come out of (and where you should arrange for transfer/leave your car):
(I have a couple of videos/reels on my instagram account which may give you some idea of what to expect also).

For Snake Canyon, you will need a 40-50m rope as the longest drop is ~20 m (depending how you plan your descent actually, but that is what is recommended). For Canyoning, I haven’t done a whole lot of the great ones in Oman (you should probably check Dr. Khaled Abdul Malak’s book ‘Canyoning in Oman: 12 Exceptional Wadis’, but of the ones I have done I found Wadi Ta’ab to be fantastic, and Umq Beer is also great!

For shuttle contacts etc. best to email me please 🙂


Great blog and useful info.Am planning a trip in march and we have a 2 WD but do not feel comfortable driving to Jebel Shams,as we will be staying in Nizwa or Hamra wondering if u have any contacts for driver/ car with 4WD who could take us up there? Also I heard bout a parking lot halfway u can drive and 4WD cars are waiting to take u up? Any info on that?thanks

Thanks Gunther. Perhaps the parking location ‘half way’ that you mention is the area at Al Nakhur village before the really steep drive starts.

I will drop you an email with a contact number you can try liaising with them directly – if you wish me to arrange it then I can do it but will need the exact date.

Hi Ali,
You have such a great blog. So useful for us in many ways. I was wondering if you can send me a contact for a one day trip driver from Misfah where we will have our hotel, prices of that day trip in Jebel Shams and of all the options you write about, which one you recommend us-we are not used to hike altough we are in good health-.

Aldo I would need the same advice in Jebel Akhdar starting in Birkat Al Mawz-we are doing both one day trips-

Hi Toni
Sorry I saw this late, I hope you had a good trip and great time overall in Oman! If you still looking for support then please drop me an email!

Hi, we are planning to do a W4 hike with a camping near the top and coming back down in the morning. Unfortunately we will have only 2WD car. Do you have any idea or recommendation how to reach the start of W4 hike? Is there any taxi service that could bring us there and back? or do you there will be enough cars passing by that we can hitchhike? And where is the latest place we can go with our 2WD? Thank you 🙂

Hi Tereza,

You will need a 4WD car to get there, you can try hiring a driver from Al Hamra to take you up or perhaps calling one of the hotels to check if they offer transfers from Al Hamra? FYI the start of W4 trek is behind Sama Heights Hotel.

Difficult to say how far you can drive up with your 2WD car as, unlike Jabal Akhder, there is no police check point to allow only 4WD cars, so technically you can drive all the way up if you are able to (I have seen on occasions 2WD cars going up there myself, but I wouldn’t reocmmend it as it may damage the car etc.)

Hope that helps.

What a great blog! I got do mamy important information! And all these amazing photos! I am really impressed.
But I would need one more information. Do you have contact to someone who Has 4×4 car and could take 2 persons to Jabal Shams?
I will be grateful.

Hi wondering if at the bottom of Jebel Sham there are taxi drivers with a 4WD that can bring u up,as am not comfortable driving our automatic up in the mountains?

Hi, sorry I didn’t see your comment on time. Please write me an email with the date you’re looking for and I’ll write you there.

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