Fantastic hiking routes
Terraced farms and cooler weather great adventurers atop the Al Jebel Al Akhdar range. Here, hiking routes are mainly along its beautiful villages, but also through wadis and terrace fields. Local tour operators are happy to assist with guided tours.
This mostly limestone mountain is one of the highest points in Oman and eastern Arabia. Jebel Akhdar forms the central section of Hajar range, and is located around 150 km (93 mi) from Muscat. The range is mostly desert, but at higher altitudes receives around 300 mm (12 in) of precipitation annually — moist enough to allow the growth of shrubs and trees and support agriculture. It is this that gives the mountains their “green” name.
An old stronghold on the inland side of the mountain is Birkat al-Mawz, or Pool of the Plantains, with a layout similar to the nearby Jabrin palace.
Poised across the yawning mouth of a great pass into the mountains, Birkat al-Mawz was one of the fortresses of the Bani Riyam tribe which controlled the mountain heartland. Collapsing into ruin until recently, the mud-brick fortress and its painted ceilings are now well on the way to restoration.”
— Aramco World.
The area is about a 45-minute drive from Nizwa and is known for its traditional rose water extraction and agricultural products including pomegranates, walnuts, apricots, black grapes and peaches. It is also the site of honey bee breeding for much of Oman. Agricultural production is improved by the use of Falaj irrigation channels and their associated terraces system devised by the local farmers, who have lived on this mountain for hundreds of years. Al Sogara is a historic village carved into the mountainside. The Jebel is mostly inhabited by the ancient Arab tribe Bani Riyam (al Riyamy). Most descendants of the tribe are now in the four nearby villages, including Nizwa, Izki and Ibra.