Wadi Bani Khalid & Wadi Hawer

Post about Wadi Bani Khalid and Wadi Hawer in Al Sharqiyah Region of Oman.

Wadi Bani Khalid (وادي بني خالد) is one of the most famous wadis Oman, and probably the first Wadi that comes to mind when thinking of a recreational wadi to visit in Oman (well, that or Wadi Shab!). That is because it is one of the first ‘wadis’ to be a tourist attractions, as it has been known for many years as an easily accessible wadi with plenty of water pools that is popular with both adventure seekers and families wanting to picnic (or both )- I even recall as a kid hearing about it, and seeing a photo from Wadi Bani Khalid on a telephone card, back when they used to be a thing.. but I digress!

Wadi Bani Khalid is a really popular wadi located in a wilayat (province) of the same name in Al Sharqiyah North Region of Oman, but in this article I am going to talk about it as well as another wadi that technically part of Wadi Bani Khalid but is further downstream – and that is the gorgeous Wadi Hawer (وادي حاور). Wadi Hawer stunned me so much ever since my first visit in 2013, that it has quickly become one of my all time favorite wadis (along with Wadi Al Abaeen and Wadi Tiwi). The combination of unique rocks, crystal clear blue pools and beautiful water falls in the wadi, and of course the lack of crowds, makes it a fantastic wadi to visit and explore!

Before you go:

Just like any wadi visit, you will need the following, note that the trek at Wadi Bani Khalid is very short and you can get by much easier/faster than in Wadi Hawer:

  • Sun-screen
  • Food, snacks and plenty of drinking water
  • If you decide to swim, please ensure you wear something appropriate that reasonably covers your body (definitely no bikinis!) – this is especially relevant in Wadi Bani Khalid where lots of villagers and locals also go to and who would get offended if you wear inappropriate clothes (I understand there are even signs against wearing bikinis there now).
  • Tower and change of clothes
  • Sturdy water-proof footwear (something that won’t let you slip). In Wadi Hawer, you will need something sturdy that gives you good grip, but expect to need to swim/wade in water with it too (old running shoes sneakers should do!).
  • Camera and waterproof bag
  • A flashlight if you are going into Muqil Cave in Wadi Bani Khalid

Wadi Bani Khalid (Muql Side)

Wadi Bani Khalid is the name of the wadi passing through a large area encompassing a couple of villages, and that is why there is a bit of confusion of where the wadi actually is. The ‘popular’ and touristy Wadi Bani Khalid is the one that is at the direction of Muqil (مقل), this is the wadi with the famous large swimming pool, picnic areas and a small cave network. Now I have a confession to make – I have visited this part of Wadi Bani Khalid only once, and my impressions from that lone visit in 2013 are below:

We first followed the road signs pointing to Muqil caves, where the road takes you through plenty of farms and then a large car park. You may find many local kids offering to take your stuff to the picnic area (for a tip). A couple of minutes walk and you will reach a huge natural swimming pool with shades and picnic areas around it, and most likely many people/families having a BBQ and enjoying the place.

We visited the wadi during the weekend and found the place to be absolutely packed with people in the picnic areas, and many more swimming in the water pools. The water was fresh and there were plenty of waterfalls; however, it was not crystal clear and all we could think of while making our way through is how much nicer Wadi Al Arbaeen is in comparison to this area! However, one of the local kids told us that the water is like that because of the flash floods that occurred recently, so maybe you will find them super clear!

Either way, the walk is easy (albeit on slippery rocks) and after 10 mins or so you will reach Muqil cave. Here you will need to really crouch (and kneel sometimes) to pass through, and you will also need your flash light. If you are not very comfortable, you will likely find one of the local kids who will be more than happy to take you in (tip expected). It can be quite claustrophobic and very humid inside. You may also end up encountering some bats and should be able to hear a waterfall somewhere.

There is a well-known trekking path (called E35) that is marked with the familiar yellow, green and red flags which connects Wadi Tiwi to Wadi Bani Khalid. It is a serious, multi-day hike that I understand covers >50 km, but I have not unforgettably gotten the chance to do yet. You can be sure there will be an article on Wadi Tiwi to Wadi Bani Khalid E35 trek once I get a chance to tick that of my ever expanding ‘treks to do’ 🙂

Wadi Hawer

From Muqil, it is a short drive further south to Al Bidh’ah village (قرية بضعة) where you can reach another path of Wadi Bani Khhaid which you can trek through – we understood later from one of the village boys that this is wadi is commonly called Wadi Hawer (وادي حاور) – now If you want to actually trek and do some proper wadi scrambling, you should definitely visit Wadi Hawer!

Wadi Hawer is downstream of Wadi Bani Khalid and connects all the way to Sayq/Seeq (سيق) village further south. Ever since my first visit in 2013, I have been here on numerous occasions and even managed to make the trek all the way to Seeq (allow 4-6 hrs, and you need to leave car at the other side which adds another ~45 mins driving time – I have placed a pin on map further down). Wadi Hawer is a really gorgeous wadi with some stunning rock features, waterfalls and a number of gorgeous pools to swim at. However, it is also not an easy wadi to navigate if you are not quite adept at Wadi Scrambling, as it has a number of drops and large boulders to scramble through. At the very beginning of the wadi you need to scramble up a rock side, where locals put a tied palm tree as bridge (that is often unstable and sometimes gone depending on floods), but you can opt to head straight through the pools which also means you need to get wet immediately at the start of the trek. The trek doesn’t get more straightforward and has a portion in the middle where you need to swim through a reasonably long pool, but you can explore it as your time allows. I did do the trek all the way to Seeq village, and it took us just over 5 hours – but you need to allow more time to switch cars as it is a one-way trek and the drive from Seeq to Bidh’ah village is ~45 mins one-way.

If you have to visit one of the two locations, Wadi Hawer should should not be missed!

My thoughts….

I really enjoyed Wadi Hawer, and highly recommend it for anyone wanting a bit of a hike and a swim. It is not an easy wadi to trek through, with many rocks and drops to navigate through, so its definitely not suitable for casual & quick visit or for kids, but highly rewarding if you want to trek through a proper Omani wadi ! Of course, Wadi Bani Khalid at Muqil is quite nice too – especially if you do not want to walk much a just want to swim and enjoy the pools – but then you will have to contend with all the crowds. If you are looking for a trekking guide to take you through Wadi Hawer (or even want to visit Wadi Bani Khalid on a day-tour), then check my tours and get in touch 🙂

Finally… Please, pretty please, try your utmost to maintain the beauty of this wadi by not throwing anything during your walk, it is unlikely that the local municipality sends cleaning staff to clean Wadi Bani Khalid so anything you throw will probably stay there for years unless someone voluntarily removes it 🙂

How to get to Wadi Bani Khalid / Wadi Hawer

Take the Dakhiliya route from Muscat heading towards Samael, and then through Wadi Al Aaq on your way to Al Kamil and Wafi. The turn to Wadi Bani Khalid is about 15kms or so after passing Bidiyah, and its another 20 kms to reach the area. From there you can either go north to Muqil or south to Wadi Hawer (the whole area encompassing Wadi Bani Khalid). At both locations you can start your journey at the car park shown in the Google map below:

(Note: As everything on, all my photos are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, if you need to license them for other purpose please contact me)

26 replies on “Wadi Bani Khalid & Wadi Hawer”

Love your blog – lots of great information. Have enjoyed it while planning our February trip to Oman . .can you tell me how we could get from Nizwa to Al Wasil? two women traveling together – Shukran

Hi Katie,

Very glad you enjoyed our site.

Are you renting a car/driving yourselves for your upcoming trip? Al Wasil is near Bidiyah, here is google maps showing directions between the two: here

Another way is to go on the highway on way back to Muscat and take a turn at Samail which connects you to the road leading to Al Wasil; however, that is a longer route.

Hope you have a nice time traveling and let us know if you have any other questions 🙂


The Muql area of Wadi Bani Khalid always has water. I can’t guarantee you will see the waterfalls at Al Hayer during summer though as I heard from locals that they are only there after rainfall.

Hello? I just wondered do you think it would be OK to take our dog? He is an Omani Wadi dog so up to the challenge but I mean did you see any other dogs there, do you think other people would mind. I know sometimes Omanis can be particular about dogs! Thanks

Hello Sam,

To be perfectly honest, in my opinion it would be best not to take your dog with you. It is very unlikely any one will tell you anything, but there are many villages by Wadi Bani Khalid and I am just guessing they will not feel very enthusiastic seeing a dog running around the rocks. I am sure you will have a good time if you decide to take him with you, and no one will tell you anything. But it will be a nice gesture (showing an understanding of the culture) not to take him.

Just my two baisas 🙂 Hope that helps.

Hello, where would you recommend to camp, Muqil or Al Hayer area? I plan to explore the area the next day after Jabreen and Jebel Shams Balcony Walk and move from here to catch the late afternoon ferry to Masirah. Is that doable? Thank you.

Hi Petr,
Time-wise and distance driven that is probably doable; but I’d try to get there early to find a camp spot before it gets dark. I haven’t been to Wadi Bani Khalid area long enough to know where you could camp in the area. But also keep in mind that you will be passing by Bidiyah and the Wahiba Sands area on your way too (shorter driving time too as you don’t need to take a side-road to Wadi Bani Khalid), so I’d consider camping in the desert instead if I was you 🙂

Hope that helps,

Hey Lisa,
Apologies for the late reply, the email notifications stopped working for some reason. You don’t need a 4×4 to get to Wadi Bani Khalid entrance!


wonderfull pictures and stories about the Wadi bani Khalid, but it would be also nice if we get the guide also to the direction for those who have not been there, GPS coordinate will be perfect wasy of guide i hope people who visit the area can easy record the coordinates and pass it on the pages like this so we can all visit the areas easy and withought time west.

Thank you and Regards,

Hey Saif

Thanks for that! I thought the google map information would be helpful enough on how to get there 🙂 Open it in a new page and see if it helps.


I must admit I haven’t been to Wadi Bani Khalid since 1997 and it looks like it’s changed. A group of us entered the caves without a guide and got a bit disorientated. We found our way out but gave ourselves a scare. Those kids with the rope are not to be ignored. Worth a few baisa to find your way out again. I remember upon exiting I stood with the group at the entrance and didn’t notice the drop behind me. If I’d backed up a little more I’d have gone over the edge. I’ve thought about that often in the intervening years.

Hey Chris,

That is fantastic, Thanks for sharing your experience 🙂 Can’t imagine how it would have been like in 1997! It definitely has changed a lot, so maybe worth a visit for you! I didn’t see many deep drops in the cave, but I admit I didn’t explore it very well as we were running out of time!


Hi Ali,
I’ve recently moved to Oman and am constantly referring to your site for weekend trip ideas. It’s a fantastic point of reference.
Quick question, do you know if you can camp at Wadi Bani Khalid? And if so, are there good spots to camp? I understand that camping in the wadi itself should be avoided due to the possibility of flash flooding.

Hi Jade,

Glad to hear that 🙂

I have never camped in wadis personally before, due to the reason you mentioned about risk of flash floods. I don’t re-call seeing any suitable areas in Wadi Bani Khalid that will be suitable for camping, as it is in a relatively ‘populated’ area so it might be tricky finding a place far away from the village (I think? I could be wrong). If I was to camp there, I would probably camp near Bidiyah/sand-dunes and drive afterwards to Wadi Bani Khalid as it is not too far away 🙂

Sorry, I know I’m not being much help!


Hi Ali,
Thank you for your reply.
We visited on the weekend and found a good spot on the ridge above the wadi. If you ever visit again, or know of someone who is visiting, I would recommend this spot. As you approach the carpark, turn left into the village of Miqil. Continue up the road for about a kilometre or two – there will be a building on your left and a turnoff to your right. Take the turnoff and in about 200m are two flat areas which look like they have been set up for camping on either side of the road. There is a small rocky ledge at each spot, which protects the site from the wind.
It also a good spot to stay if you want to get up early and visit the wadi without anyone else around. We went down to the wadi at about 7am and we only saw three other couples in the two hours we were there.

Hi Jade,

That sounds like a great spot, thanks for sharing the information. I will check it out next time I’m there 🙂


Hi Samiulla,

Yes you should be able to reach the entrance to Wadi Bani Khalid with a sedan car, no problem!


W made it 3 weeks ago and there are some adjustments on the path and they looked like a recent ones. In the place where the palm tree should be helping to climb the rock, metal chains and steps were added. This was very easy.

Then, just almost at the end, another two metal steps were added, so it
is possible to go dry foot to the waterfall. However those last two
steps are not suitable for everyone. My wife gave up this part, too
steep and too far apart. For me it was ok, but I am 182cm and I was on
the edge of comfort zone. Anyone shorter, 170 and below definitely might find this part very hard. Still it is possible to just go around, but
then you would have to get wet… on the other hand, it is almost the
end of the path 🙂
The path through the water in this moment requires swimming, so whatever you have with you, pack it in waterproof bag. Unless you can hold the bag over your head during swimming, because the pool here is not big.
This wadi is fantastic, really great, we were all alone.

I remember in 1984 we were there. Wasnt there a thin trail towards the wadi/ waterfall on the cliffside? I held in to some of the rocks. I wasn’t equipped shoe-wise. I remember how nice and cool it was after the long walk. And the tiny fish bit your feet. Even after 40 years I haven’t forgotten it.

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