Al Dakhiliah, Oman
Al Dakhiliah, which means The Interior in Arabic, is a dramatic, mountainous region nestled around the western Hajar Mountains and is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Oman, and for good reason. The area has spectacular scenery, including Jebel Shams (Oman's highest mountain), Wadi Ghul (The Grand Canyon of Arabia) and Jebel Akhdar (The Fruit Bowl of Oman). In addition, some of the country's best forts can be seen in here in Nizwa, Bahla and Jabrin.
Bahla is an ancient town famed for its ceramics, located 40 kilometers west of Nizwa. Local potters use a unique local clay and work it in traditional fashion to produce pieces for sale in Nizwa. These potters have earned a reputation of the highest order as they supplied Oman with most of its water jugs and other ceramic pieces over the centuries. Bahla is also home to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Bahla Fort, whose impressive towers reach up to 50 meters in height. Built 800 years ago at the peak of Bahla's prosperity, the fort deteriorated before being gradually restored to its former splendor over the last few decades.
Al Hamra, 46 kilometers north west of Nizwa, is considered the most authentic and unspoilt village in Oman, with picturesque buildings reminiscent of the beautiful ochre houses of bygone days. Date palms surround the township and are still fed by the canals of the traditional aflaj irrigation system. Al Hamra sits surrounded by desert, the green foliage of its palm groves erupting against the barren peaks of the mountains beyond.
Jebel Akhdar, 45-minute drive northeast of Nizwa, with its terraced agricultural land on steep mountain slopes, is considered a regional highlight. Translated from the Arabic for "Green Mountain", it is an incredibly fertile area that is pleasantly cool with a large number of traditional villages. The ideal place to view Jebel Akhdar is from the Saiq Plateau, which lies at an altitude of 2000 meters.
Jebel Akhdar is renowned for the rock rose which grows wild on its slopes and is used in many traditional Omani fragrances and rosewater. The cool local climate makes this a thriving center for the cultivation of a wide variety of crops on terraced hillsides designed to capitalize on the precious water supply. Bee farms are another traditional local activity with bees collecting pollen from the native flowers blooming on the mountainside.
Jebel Shams, Arabic for "Mountain of Sun" is the first peak to feel the rays of sunshine each day. At 3300 meters, it is the highest point in the Arabian Peninsula, and some of the most beautiful locations in the Sultanate of Oman. Below it lies the breathtakingly beautiful Wadi Ghul, better known as the Grand Canyon of Arabia, due to its majestic, spectacular views, with a series of jagged valleys and rugged escarpments disappearing into the distance. The famous Balcony Walk takes visitors along a narrow track just beneath the cliff top, providing stunning views into the canyon and across to ancient ruins clinging to the rock face.