During my trip to Oman we visited Wadi Bani Khalid, and quickly fell in love. I absolutely loved the stunning natural beauty of Oman, and Wadi Bani Khalid is one of those places that will leave you amazed.
Wadi Bani Khalid is an oasis in the desert of Oman, where you can spend the day hiking, exploring, and swimming in clear water pools.
In this guide I’ve put together everything you need to know about visiting Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman, including how to get there, what to bring with you and more!
About Wadi Bani Khalid
As already mentioned Wadi Bani Khalid is a desert oasis, where you can expect to find emerald water pools and lush palm trees surrounded by rocky ravines and steep cliff faces.
From the main parking area you only need to hike around 5-10 minutes to reach the main pool, where you will also find a restaurant and toilets. If you want a little more adventure however, make sure to continue your journey upriver!
Here the canyon and river become narrower, and there will be less people around. It’s up to you how much further you want to hike, but you’ll find pretty cool spots all along the wadi.
We stopped after about 15-20 minutes where we found a small pool with a natural slide and a deeper spot where we could dive.
It was basically like a natural waterpark! Wadi Bani Khalid is a great spot that you can visit also if you’re travelling to Oman with kids.
How to get to Wadi Bani Khalid
If you’re driving to Wadi Bani Khalid by yourself you should search for “Wadi Bani Khalid Parking Area” on Google Maps.
This will take you to the exact spot where you can park your car and get started on your Wadi Bani Khalid adventure.
It’s about a 3-hour drive away from Muscat, a 2-hour drive away from Sur and 1.5 hours away from Ibra. If you don’t want to drive yourself you can visit Wadi Bani Khalid on an organised day tour from Muscat.
Where to stay to explore Wadi Bani Khalid
Wadi Bani Khalid is a bit in the middle of nowhere. There are some houses and villages but the closest big inhabited centres are Ibra and Sur.
We were slept in Ibra the day before visiting Wadi Bani Khalid and then drove on to Sur after.
That way we drove 1.5 hours in the morning, spent the whole day at Wadi Bani Khalid and then drove the remaining 1.5 hours in the afternoon to go on to our next stop of our Oman itinerary; Sur.
Our experience at Wadi Bani Khalid
We were in Oman in May 2019 during Ramadan and just after Wadi Bani Khalid had experienced some heavy flooding, so our experience at Wadi Bani Khalid was a little different from what you might usually expect.
From a landscape point of view the water wasn’t as clear and emerald as you see in other photos, and we were told that the floods had carried away a small bridge and some of the bigger rocks.
From a person point of view it meant that we were the only people there. You would usually find locals swimming in the pools at Wadi Bani Khalid, but during Ramadan none of them were around in the central hours of the day.
That also meant that all the shops, cafes and other facilities that might normally be at Wadi Bani Khalid were also closed.
There were also less tourists, since most people avoid Muslim countries during Ramadan.
We spent around 4-5 hours at Wadi Bani Khalid, from around 11AM to 3PM and only came across one German couple. For the rest of the time we were the only ones there.
That meant that we could swim in the water in bikinis and speedos for the guys, which you shouldn’t really do if there are locals around. To respect the local culture you should dress modestly, which means swimming in t-shirts and shorts.
After we parked our cars we hiked for about 5-10 minutes before reaching the main pool of Wadi Bani Khalid, where the restaurant is.
We kept walking for another 15-20 minutes upriver, until we found a spot deeper in the canyon that we fancied.
Here there was a smaller pool to swim in, a natural slide that you could slide into the water with, a spot in the shade below the overhanging canyon cliff side and a spot that we could dive into the water from.
We couldn’t ask for anything more!
We brought sandwiches and snacks with us as a packed lunch and we spent the whole day there.
Excluding the hiking there and back time we spent around 2-3 hours just playing around Wadi Bani Khalid, and it was amongst the most fun we’ve had in Oman.
We visited Wadi Bani Khalid alone and didn’t feel like we needed a tour, but we were also a big group with 11 guys. If you’re travelling solo and are concerned about safety you might prefer to do a guided tour.
What to bring with you to Wadi Bani Khalid
You don’t really need much to visit Wadi Bani Khalid! But there are a few items that will make your trip there more pleasant.
Water shoes: These aren’t always an essential but when I visited, I really wish I’d had them. Most of the path was still partly flooded so we had to get our feet wet to hike upriver.
However the path is rocky and slippery, so you don’t really want to do it in flip-flops or barefoot. I just accepted I’d have to get my trainers wet, but water shoes would have been ideal.
Snacks & water: We visited that the restaurant and café were closed so we had to bring food and water with us. However even if you are visiting when the facilities are open, I would still recommend being independent. That way you can hike as far up the canyon as you want, without having to go when you get hungry or thirsty.
Sunscreen: The Oman heat can be pretty intense; you don’t want to risk getting sunburnt! Make sure to pack sunscreen and stay safe from the strong sun rays.
Fast drying towel: If you’re planning on swimming around in the wadi (which you should because it’s loads of fun!) you’ll want to bring one of these with you. I love them because they’re light, take up little space in your backpack and dry super quick.
Final thoughts on visiting Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman
That’s everything from me! Wadi Bani Khalid was one of my favourite places that we visited in Oman, and I can highly recommend it to anyone.
Visiting this lush desert oasis will be like a breath of fresh air after the fort, mud town and desert adventures. I hope you find this guide useful in planning your own visit to the Wadi Bani Khalid.