Highway to Muscat, and the Crazy Stuff that Happens There

After driving for what seemed like years, we finally saw signs of Muscat. It rained on and off since we crossed the UAE-Oman border at Hatta, and this slowed down our speed considerably; that, and the fact that we stopped for tea, prayers, money exchange, and photography.

We couldn’t help it. The mountains were spectacular! For a huge part, the highway to Muscat (and the city itself, as we would later discover) has been carved out from these very mountains—these imposing, strong and solid pillars of nature.

And somewhere between these mountains was a place where people went with their families to enjoy a picnic. We stopped for a moment to watch them. A group of young girls were playing football. There was also a narrow stream of water in which some children were cheerfully splashing about; the cool January wind carried the sound of their carefree laughter all the way up to the highway where we stood.

Okay, so those were the normal things that people like you and me do. What we don’t normally do is this…

We were driving towards Muscat when we saw several cars parked on the side of the highway and curious-looking people taking photographs and videos of something that looked highly interesting. We immediately pulled over. We were, after all, tourists and must, therefore, indulge ourselves in all things touristy.

We saw some young men (presumably Omani, based on the way they were dressed) trying to drive up a steep mountain of sand…

They would drive really fast, aiming to reach the top, where some of their friends stood. Getting up there on the first attempt must be a great achievement; we observed that most drivers reached the top after multiple tries. If one got stuck in the middle, he would bring the jeep down in reverse and try again!

Here’s a small clip of this crazy driving. That first jeep reached the top on the third attempt. Oh, and pardon the voices in the background; the spectators were merely fascinated by what they were seeing.

And the following less steeper playground—situated right across the madness shown above—is, I’m presuming, for the beginners…

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22 Responses to Highway to Muscat, and the Crazy Stuff that Happens There

  1. masood says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that during our brief stay at this place, when you girls were busy taking pictures, I asked for directions to Muscat from one of the Omani spectators, and to my surprise he said, “This is Muscat!” I was like :-@ hmm..ohh… I see…hmm…okay…hmm.

    Later, we all found that we never really knew when we entered and exited the city :-p.

    • nadia says:

      LOL … yeah, that’s true! There weren’t clear signs that indicate we were already in the city. I think the first sign on the highway was the “Muscat Int’l Airport” board. Or maybe we just missed all the signboards 😀

  2. David Cantu says:

    This was fun reading Nadia. I like the composition of your shots too. Pretty good for just a tourist 🙂

  3. Sara says:

    Assalaam Alaikum Nadia,

    Sounds like you had interesting & fun filled trip to Muscat! MashaAllah, I love all the travel photographs. Beautiful. It almost feels like we’re on the journey with you, lol. And traversing up the mountain via jeep/car seems pretty exciting, albeit certainly intimidating!

    Thank you once again for sharing your adventures with us. =)

    • nadia says:

      Walaikum Assalam Sara!

      You are most welcome, sis. I’m glad you liked the photographs. Muscat was indeed a very nice experience. The weekend was too short a time to explore the city and its nearby places.

  4. Lat says:

    Great pics there as usual.And it’s interesting to read about not knowing when one enters and exits Muscat.I enjoyed the info on car races too.I appreciate your much loved efforts to show us thru’ your eyes..er…double eyes the world of your interests.thank you again and again!

    • nadia says:

      LOL @ double eyes! You are so funny, Lat 😀

      We got lost within the city several times too, but the Omanis are really friendly people. They’d happily stop whatever is it that they’re busy with at the moment to clearly explain the directions to us.

  5. Margie says:

    When we lived in Qatar, a trip to the sand dunes was a great adventure. On our first trip there, we joined a convoy of other expats who taught us how to drive in the sand. It was quite exciting to drive over the edge of a large dune that first time!

  6. hello.

    your shots captured the vastness and the beauty of the surroundings. and i loved what you did with the frames/edges of the pics. 😀

  7. lyemoon. says:

    I am so totally blown away by your pictures!
    Living in a concrete city, it’s not everyday I get to see such wonderful terrain!

    Mountains and deserts. Gosh you made them look so beautiful!

    • nadia says:

      Thank you, lyemoon! The mountains and desert are already beautiful, subhanAllah. I merely captured a piece of what was in front of me 🙂

      I also live in a concrete city, so I know what you mean 😀

  8. [[[ x Smiley x ]]] says:

    Beautiful pictures, Nadia!
    I love the last image!
    Going up those sand mountains must be mega fun!
    😀

  9. Raheel says:

    Now this was REALLY steep!

  10. mezba says:

    Really spectacular, those Hajar mountains. On our next visit iA we will spend more time in UAE and some time in Oman, iA.

    Those cars and what they are doing – crazy!

  11. Noel says:

    Impressive! I thought that the tropics were the only beautiful places on earth! Thanks for sharing these pictures and stories!!!

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