April 13th 2014

Introducing Jebel Shams

Oman’s highest mountain, Jebel Shams (Mountain of the Sun; 3075m), is best known not for its peak but for the view into the spectacularly deep Wadi Ghul lying alongside it. The straight-sided Wadi Ghul is known locally as the Grand Canyon of Arabia as it fissures abruptly between the flat canyon rims, exposing vertical cliffs of 1000m and more. Until recently, there was nothing between the nervous driver and a plunge into the abyss but now an iron railing at least indicates the most precipitous points along the track and a couple of rough car parks along the rim pick out some of the best viewpoints into the canyon.

While there is nothing ‘to do’ exactly at the top, the area makes a wonderful place to take photographs, have a picnic (there are no shops or facilities so bring your own), enjoy a hike…or buy a carpet.

You need only step from your vehicle and you’ll find carpet sellers appear from nowhere across the barren landscape clutching piles of striped red-and-black goat-hair rugs. Weaving is a profitable local industry, but don’t expect a bargain. A large rug can cost anything from OR30 to OR80, depending on the colours used and the complexity of the pattern. Weaving is men’s work on Jebel Shams: spinning the wool is women’s work. If you can’t find room for a carpet, a spindle made from juniper wood makes a more portable souvenir.

Jebel Shams is a feasible day trip from Nizwa (or a long day trip from Muscat), but to savour its eerie beauty, consider staying overnight on the plateau near the canyon rim at one of the low-key accommodations.


  • My wife had an emergency and we wanted to visit the hospital. I have to say I cannot thank the hotel staff & management for what they have done to me & my wife. They have been extremely helpful until my wife left the hospital. Thank you for what you have done to US.

    Emad Family with young children,

  • The staff were brilliant. One of our party had to be rushed to hospital due to a medical emergency.The staff were amazing. They drove us there and stayed with us until we needed them, checking on us from time to time. Real personal service with a smile....going that extra mile for the guests. I would recommend this hotel anytime. The rooms were huge,spotless and beds lovely and comfortable. Perfect after a long day of walking in the mountains.

    Zahra Family with young children dubai, United Arab Emirates

  • We were the first visitors to use rooms so superb. Kitchen good a bit sparse on equipment but enough for requirement's. Lulu hyper market just 5 minutes away for all needs. Ideal for central location to explore surrounding area Jebal Shams, Nizwa Centre. This accommodation was where bookings .com said it was, not like the hotel he night before. Manager Anu could not have been more help.

    Phillip Mature couple BURTON UPON TRENT, United Kingdom