Duqm Rock Garden

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Feels like stepping onto another planet

Located about 550km from Muscat, visiting this geographical marvel feels like stepping onto another planet. Limestone and sandstone rock formations eroded by wind and weather cover a large area. Look closely and you might even be able to spot fossils.

Whichever way you approach this place, you’re likely to have traveled through hundreds of kilometers of rocky desert. It is, therefore, somewhat surprising to find 3 square km of desert fenced off and signposted “Rock Garden.” If you leave behind any preconceived ideas of what a garden may look like, and focus instead on the rock part of the name, you’ll be better prepared for the site.

At first sight, there is little (if any) difference between the fenced off and the surrounding area. Yet, once you start wandering around, you’ll find a curious array of sandstone and limestone formations. Water, wind and millions of years combined managed to create this bizarre landscape.

Almost perfectly spherical stones sit next to rocks resembling animals, thrones, human body parts, and whatever else your imagination can conjure up. Some large rocks stand balanced on smaller ones, while others sit at improbable angles.

It may not be the most jaw-dropping site you’ll ever see, but it does provide the chance to marvel at the beauty of rocks. There is something hypnotic about contemplating the way time has made some rocks smooth, and others jagged, some flaky and others scaly, and so on. If you take time to notice these little variations, the Rock Garden has a striking variety of rock surfaces, shapes, and colors.