Wadi Bani Khalid Oman is one of the most famous wadis in the Sultanate and after seeing the pictures below you will understand why. A short walk takes you to large emerald pools and a narrow zigzagging canyon filled with giant white boulders. Fancy a swim? Below is my travel guide to help you plan your visit.
Navigate back to the complete Oman Travel Guide
This article contains affiliate Links (info on the Disclosure page). If you purchase using my link, I get a commission at no extra cost to you.
Wadi Bani Khalid in video
Let's start with a short video showing you the beauty of Wadi Bani Khalid with its big wild boulders and emerald pools. You will also see what it is like to swim in the top pool accessible by a 10 min hike.
Discover more images from Oman on my post - Oman in Videos
How to get to Wadi Bani Khalid Oman
Driving along the river bed... The road is not difficult.
Even before reaching the site itself, the drive is fascinating. Big white boulders have rolled into the river bed.
The advantage is that water flows in this very long wadi all year round so there are lush plantations all the way.
At the end of the drive you will find a large parking area where you have to stop before continuing on foot.
More information at the end of the article
Wadi Bani Khalid Tour
And if you don't want to drive, know that Wadi Bani Khalid can be visited on a day trip from Muscat with a guide in combination with the Sand dunes of Wahiba Sands.
This location, along with many other beautiful places, is included in my eBook: Experience Oman:
- 8 exclusive maps simplified localising the best places to visit
- 90+ places to see including 41 primary amazing locations with double page features
- GPS coordinates of all locations to facilitate navigation
- 100+ photos to help you decide where you want to stop
From the parking to the first pools
It is a short easy walk to the first pool of the wadi which is quite large.
As you can see it has been developed but with taste and restraint (as always with Omani people). A restaurant has been set up before the entrance to the narrow part of the wadi. The toilets are at the back.
You can go swimming in this one already or just get your feet in the water for the fish to eat your dead skin. If you go swimming, don't shout, they will be tingling 🙂
I really recommend to swim either here or in the upper section. it is very refreshing.
View from the bridge
To reach the restaurant, they have built a small bridge over the wadi which gives you a chance to get a glimpse of what there is to come.
Sadly the sun was high and my photos cannot give justice to the place.
Hiking in Wadi Bani Khalid - to the higher pools
The short hike takes you between the white cliffs along the turquoise water flowing in the opposite direction. Be careful the rocks tend to be slippery.
Then you reach a small waterfall. That marks the limit to the upper pools
I was lucky it was very quiet when I visited. But it can be quite busy, especially during the local weekends.
Swimming in Wadi Bani Khalid - upper pools
I think this is the highlight of Wadi Bani Khalid. The water is transparent with small peebles at the bottom. It gets really deep and there is nowhere to hold so if you venture into the canyon you have to be a good swimmer. The swim is not that long but the experience wonderful. It is such a peaceful place and I just love swimming...
Here again you have those small fish tingling you. Don't jumps out of the water!
So happy to have purchased by GoPro with waterproof case for that trip!
I had a floating grip attracted to my wrist, so it was very easy to swim with it and not worry about losing the equipment!
Wadi Bani Khalid Cave
You can keep walking after to reach a cave called Muquil cave; 10min more of walking.
Don't forget to bring a flashlight.
I am not a big fan of cave so I did not go.
The Restaurant at Wadi Bani Khalid
The restaurant offers a buffet lunch including a cold drink. The food was not wonderful but it was eatable and I could enjoy the view in the shade. They serve until quite late (4PM I think)
I would recommend bringing a picnic and finding a nice spot though.
The drive to and from the Wadi is also really enjoyable. It gets up and down. Here is a shot though the windshield
PLANNING TIPS - Wadi Bani Khalid Oman
Contrary to most wadis in the Sultanate, Wadi Bani Khalid has been developed for tourism. However I am happy to report that it remains tasteful. Plus the narrow section with the white boulders and the zigzagging work of erosion remains wild because you can't access it easily.
You can also go further into the Muquil cave. I did not because it is just a cave, but if you like those, just hike a bit further.
Wadi Bani Khalid Location
- To get to Wadi Bani Khalid from Muscat is a bit out of the main road, you have to make a detour
- It is located West of the town of Sur (see my guide) and North of the sand dunes of Wahiba Sands (see my pictures)
- Muscat to Wadi Bani Khalid parking - 3h15
- Sur to Wadi Bani Khalid parking - 2h
- Wadi Bani Khalid is actually very long so google maps does not show you the touristy part of it.
- From Road 23 between Al Wasil and Al Kamil turn into Wadi Bani Khalid. 30 min drive from the main road. You will cross villages.
- Many companies offer day tours from Muscat combining with the sand dunes of Wahiba Sands. Check out this 4WD trip program
GPS coordinates, easy-to-plan maps and practical info in the eBook: Experience Oman
Visiting and Swimming in Wadi Bani Khalid
- 10 minute easy walk from the parking to the first large pool
- 10 min walk to the second system of pools, a little bit more challenging. Careful, the rocks are slippery
- 10 more minutes to get to the Muquil cave (you need to kneel and have a flash light)
- Toilets at the back of the restaurant
- Restaurant available with buffet and cold drinks
- This is a place frequented by locals, you should cover your self even when swimming (T-shirt and short/leggins for example), especially in the main pool
- I gets really hot, don't forget to protect your head and drink water.
- If you do not want to swim, you could just put you feet it and enjoy a spa session. The pools have those small fishes that eat our dead skin
- Longer multiday hikes are available in the area
Wadi Bani Khalid hotels and places to stay
There is no hotel or accommodations that I have seen in the canyon.
Want to see more of Oman's beauty?
Discover more things to do and places to see in Oman in my online Oman Destination Guide.
Do you understand why it is one of my 10 favorite places in Oman?
Have you ever had your dead skin sucked by fishes?
Love sharing? Here is another pin for you: