Muscat Treks: Al Munkhariq Trek at Wadi Sa’al

Al Munkhariq Trek, a natural sinkhole in Wadi Sa’al in Muscat, Oman, and how to reach it.

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 TrekBandar Al Khayran Trek, Fanja Tabletop Mountain, Muttrah GeoTrekSa’al MountainSidab Coastal Trek, and Ruwi Mountains Trek. Now, let’s get into Al Munkhariq Trek at Wadi Sa’al!

Al Munkhariq Trek (مسار المنخرق) is a trekking path through a wadi near Sa’al village (قرية سعال) in Muscat. The trek itself is not really remarkable, except for the fantastic sinkhole formed from the erosion of the limestone boulders inside the wadi, which is what the locals refer to as Al Munkhairq, which means ‘the bored’ rock as in the hole into the rock. I found out about the name from asking the locals, especially the first time visiting the wadi and trying to find the sinkhole with a friend who was told of it, and think I should faithfully keep it here as it is an apt description of this cavity in Wadi Sa’al’s limestone rocks resulting in a stunning sinkhole that is quite nice to explore! The wadi itself probably has a local name (which I will update in this article once I find it), but for now let us call it Wadi Sa’al (وادي سعال).

Al Munkhariq Trek Considerations

The trek to Al Munkhariq is quite short, but not straightforward (and dare I say, perilous). I’m not exactly sure of the distance (<1km if I was to trust the line I drew on the Google Map sketch below), it takes me ~20 mins or so to reach Al Munkhariq from the start of Wadi Sa’al.

Al Munkhariq Trek requires you to scramble on quite a bit of wadi rocks, followed by scrambling up the wadi where you should stick to the sides to continue, as there are large boulders that are tricky to traverse in the center. To see Al Munkhairq from above, stick to your left hand side, while if you want to find the entrance to it from below, you need to scramble up on the right hand side and descend down. PLEASE keep in mind that this is NOT easy, the rocks are smooth and steep, so it can get quite tricky and it is definitely not recommended if you are not experienced hiker/scrambler or have a fear of heights! The ‘left-hand’ side edge as well is really steep and the descent is perilous as it is quite a big drop – so please keep all that in mind if you decide to visit!

You could actually continue the trek past Al Munkhairq into Wadi Sa’al, as you can see it extends quite a bit after that point. I have trekked a further ~45 mins from there but it gets a bit more tiring with not many features worth mentioning. I will update this article if I find anything interesting in upcoming trips 🙂

A couple of other things to note: the large brown house with huge dilapidated fence around it is of a notable local, it may or may not be abandoned (I am not quite sure!), but either way, please stay off-the property, and do not trespass or entering the wadi from that side (I have dropped a pin on that entrance spot note is the large house). In addition, there is an enclosure and tree right at start of the wadi where you might see some locals gathering or keeping their goats, occasionally some may do target shooting in that area so if you see them or hear shots, don’t panic. Waving with your right hand and greeting them with ‘al salaam alaikum السلام عليكم’ would be a nice gesture.

Getting to Al Munkhariq and Wadi Sa’al

Wadi Sa’al is near Sa’al village in Muscat, it is about 30 kms drive away from Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and can be reached either through the Muscat-Dakhiliyha highway (exiting towards Sa’al), or from the internal road through Al Ansab and Falaj Al Sham. Please note that both roads are used by heavy transport trucks, especially the latter option – the single-lane stretch from Falaj Al Sham to Sa’al is actually a very dangerous road as the condition is quite bad with lots of speeding vehicles overtaking, so please be extremely diligent there, even more so than usual (I have a family friend who lost his life in that road due to a head-on collision from a vehicle overtaking from the other side of the road!). Wadi Sa’al is just before the graded road, which is popular for visiting Sa’al Mountain and Sa’al steps.

Places mentioning in this article can be found in this Google Map:

Al Munkhariq Trek Gallery

2 replies on “Muscat Treks: Al Munkhariq Trek at Wadi Sa’al”

fantastic again – hats off for the pictures you take man –
one question – can we camp there ?

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