Friday, March 20, 2015

Misfat al Abriyyin, Oman

Oh, how time flies! About a month ago, Amy and I took advantage of our remaining Omani car insurance and headed back into Oman for our second visit to Misfat al Abriyyin. We first visited this remote oasis a year ago, after learning of the area on a trip to Jebel Shams.

Misfat al Abriyyin is a village displaced in time. With the exception of one road and few hastily strung power lines, this area is essentially the same as it has been for hundreds of years. The village is a working farm with families owning individual sections of date palms, banana trees and other crops. The village is about 3,000 feet above sea level, and the mountains around it rise as high as 7,000 feet. The steep topography of the area has helped to keep the ancestral mode of transportation, the donkey, in business.

We stayed in the oasis at a guest house know as the Misfah Old House. You won't find a website for this place (but I think they're now on!), it is about as old school as it gets. The family that runs the guest house moved to Al Hamra, the larger town at the foot of the mountain. Due to the increasing tourism in the area they decided to turn their ancestral home into a guest house so that visitors could experience what it's like to spend time in the oasis.

In order to get to the guesthouse you have to park your car at the entrance to the village and then weave your way through tight corridors and precarious staircases, to find the house nestled in the date palms. The rooms and amenities are basic, but the ambiance could not be better!

Departing from our new home base at the guest house, we were able to find a trail that circumnavigated the valley. The trail is the main artery for the farmers and donkeys to get work done in and around the farm. We learned that most of the original Omani families have hired Bangladeshi farmers to tend to their plots.

The trail offers stunning views of the village and surrounding terrain.

My hope is that Misfat al Abriyyin will be turned into a UNESCO World Heritage Site so that future generations can experience the beauty and wonder of such a special place.

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