LITTLE SNAKE CANYON (Wadi Bani Awf – Oman)

WARNING

Check weather conditions before you leave and do not attempt the journey during or after rains.


WADI BANI AWF: QUICK FACTS

  • a wadi (gorge) in the Ad Dakhiliyah Region of Oman (Western Hajar Mountains)
  • Al-Awfi people are originally from Wadi Bani Awf
  • main point of interest of this track is undoubtedly the “Snake canyon”, which is 300 meters deep
  • there is the Little Snake hike and the Big Snake hike
  • it`s a popular destination for adventure hikers and climbers
  • the wadi links Rustaq to Nizwa

MAIN ACTIVITIES IN LITTLE SNAKE CANYON

A mix between:

  • Hiking
  • Scrambling
  • Climbing
  • Wading
  • Swimming
  • Jumping down from rock ledges into pools
  • Maybe a bit of abseiling

in short “canyoning”
Note: you will get wet! That is a guarantee.


THE TRACK

The Little Snake canyon trip takes about three hours and is a mix of all above mentioned activities. It`s not very strenuous (no difficult techniques or exhausting steep parts) . However it is paramount that you are fit and flexible.
The trip goes through one of the most spectacular narrow gorges of Oman.
While in the gorge, you walk between two high walls and far, far above your head you will notice a strip of sky. This can be scary for some people.
You cannot go up anywhere to cut it short and once you jump down into the first pool you cannot turn back either = point of no return.

Pools are mostly shallow but can sometimes be quite deep. So being able to swim is a must.

Near the end of the track, you will havea stretch of cave-swimming (not for the feable hearted).

A few big boulders on the way but this is not too difficult and fun.

At the entrance and exit there are a few clean, shallow water pools. This is also a nice picnic area with a few trees for a welcome shade.


WHAT TO WEAR, WHAT TO BRING

  • Cheap, light sport shoes: you dont have to take them off and they can be cumbersome while swimming; definitely no heavy hiking boots; no sandals either
  • Socks (optional)
  • Light “quickdry” hiking trousers (nylon or light fabric); definitely no cotton which will become heavy when wet
  • T-shirt
  • Safety helmet
  • Light backpack with only essentials (water, snacks, sweater)

your backpack will become completely wet during the track, hence make sure all contents are in waterproof bags; keep it light, because you carry your bag on your back while swimming

  • Keep in mind that there is no sunlight: after having jumped in cold pools, you will cool off considerably; a wetsuit under your trousers and tshirt is highly recommended and will keep you warm
  • A climbing rope can be useful to lower people
  • Keep dry clothes and shoes ready in your car

 


DIRECTIONS AND COORDINATES

  • Drive from Rustaq to Al Awabi (Road nr 13)
  • Take right at N23 20 32.21 E57 29 35.04
  • Take left at N23 15 28.51 E 57 26 28.17
  • Drive to departure point of the canyon at N23 12 37.91 E57 23 08.47
  • Exit Snake Canyon at N23 12 58.45 E 57 24 14.45
  • Camping spot is at N23 12 34.02 E57 22 57.07