Oman: Jabal Al Akhdar – trekking Al Ayn to Sharayjah . . . on the scent of the damask rose

This post is part of a series of Oman adventures that I’ve cataloged by theme on an adventure map!!!

When we chose Hotel Sama for our night on the Sayq Plateau of Jabal Akhdar, one selling point was a guided hike the next day with a local employee.  While we didn’t know what to expect, Ali took us on a modified trekking route from Al Ayn to Sharayjah, walking along falajs through lost villages, and to follow the scent of the famed damask rose that creates the rose water Oman is known for. 

Suffice it to say, this day of hiking on The Green Mountain was a highlight of our Oman adventure road trip!  

Our guide for the day was Ali, a local Omani from the small and mostly abandoned village of Ash Sharayjah where he would eventually take us.  From Hotel Sama, we working the reception, we walked along falaj and through villages, a route we definitely would not have been brave enough to follow if not for being guided!!!  There are some very steep sections on the falaj with high exposure that some may not find comfortable and certainly the route was not obvious!  

Shortly after leaving the hotel, villages in the distance we’d ultimately walk through

Extreme falaj walking . . . not for the faint of heart!

 

. . . and we loved it!

This falaj is more typical of the ones we were walking on 🙂

 

Really cool mountain terrain as well! After all, we were up at 10,000′ so properly in the alpine of the Al Hajar mountains!

Classic Omani mosque and garden of damask roses

 

Walking along the terraced gardens . . . while many families have relocated to the Sayq Plateau above, they still maintain their family gardens in the traditional villages.

We we there in the last week of April, which meant that there were still blooming roses, although we missed the peak by about 2-3 weeks and so didn’t get to see the full bloom, or rosewater being made.  That said, we did get to smell the roses, and the damask rose is truly an incredible flower!  So fragrant I could have breathed it all day – a true treat!

Smelling the damask rose – truly one of the most fragrant flowers I’ve ever experienced!

Seen later in the trek, these are the stills actually used to make rose water.

 

We could have gladly stayed among the rose bushes all day!

We were in love with all the beautiful doors on the village homes.  In many ways they seemed out of place among the otherwise colorless structures.  We ultimately learned that the practice of lovely doors is to be inviting to guests – Omani hospitality yet again!  

For so many reasons, this might be my favorite picture of Omani doors 🙂

And, ultimately, the highlight of the whole hike/experience was the town of Ash Sharyjah itself.  While we were walking, Ali told us that he was actually born in one of these villages we could see.  Adrienne asked if he’d take us there, and he said he would, so off we went!  He took us to his actual family home and showed us how they lived, where they played as children, and how the community celebrated events like Eid and marriages.  It was so cool and very interesting to watch Ali remember his childhood with his whole body, visibly torn between a simpler time living as children in the traditional village and a more abundant time of living in a nice home on the Sayq Plateau.  This is when I came to realize the profound transition that the country of Oman is in, and that the people I met had experienced such dramatic changes in their short lifetime.

We returned to the hotel via an actual trekking route, which would have been easy to follow on our own, but it was well worth the guidance of Ali, especially the stories of his life/family and perspectives of a local!!  It was one of the highlights of the whole trip for us.  

The route back was far more straightforward, though less exciting . . .

 

The plateau was a stark change after a day in steep terrain!

While neither the hotel Sama nor Ali charged us, we left a nice tip in an envelope as he gave us such an amazing experience!!!  Truly, the adventure was better than money can buy and really drove home the value of local knowledge and perspective as we explored this amazing country of Oman!

A Girl's Guide to doing life on your own terms

GRAB MY FREE GIRL'S GUIDE + GET MONTHLY TIPS FOR CREATING A HIGH FLOW LIFESTYLE.

Thank you for subscribing!

Free Guide

Don't worry! We will always respect your email address and never share or sell it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

A Girl's Guide to doing life on your own terms

GRAB MY FREE GIRL'S GUIDE + GET MONTHLY TIPS FOR CREATING A HIGH FLOW LIFESTYLE.

You're in! Check your inbox for your Guide!

Free Guide

Don't worry! We will always respect your email address and never share or sell it.

Thanks! Keep an eye on your inbox for updates.

Tips, Trips & Trails for mountain bikers

Become an Insider

Don't worry! We will always respect your email address and never share or sell it.