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Oman: Bahla, Jabal Akhdar, Jabrin, Muscat, Nizwa, Sur, Wadi Bani Khalid, Wadi Shab, Wadi Tiwi, Wahiba Sands
Jabal Akhdar, Oman: Gem in the Hajar Mountains
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
From Bahla, it would take us about 2 hours to reach our resort - The Alila Jabal Akhdar perched on the edge of the mountains that offer excellent lodging facilities, fine views of the sunset and the valley. It's luxury redefined.
The Jabal Akhdar, literally 'The Green Mountain', is part of Al Hajar Mountains range. This mostly limestone mountain is one of the highest points in Oman and eastern Arabia. It forms the central section of Hajar range, which is mostly desert, but at higher altitudes receives around 300 mm of precipitation annually — moist enough to allow the growth of shrubs and trees and support agriculture. It is this that gives the mountains their 'green' name.
Between 1954 and 1959, the area became a site of the Jabal Akhdar War, a conflict between Omani forces loyal to the Sultan of Oman (aided by British soldiers, including the Special Air Service) and Saudi Arabian backed rebel forces of the inland Imamate of Oman. That behind, in August 2011, Sultan Qaboos designated Jabal Akhdar a nature reserve in a bid to conserve its unique yet fragile biodiversity.
The area is known for its traditional rose water extraction and agricultural products including pomegranates, walnuts, apricots, black grapes and peaches. It is also the site of honey bee breeding for much of Oman. The area is mostly inhabited by the ancient Arab tribe Bani Riyam. Most descendants of the tribe are now in the four nearby villages, including Nizwa, Izki and Ibra.
We arrived at our lodge around 5 PM. Just enough time for us to check-in and be present at the cliff-edge to view the setting sun. Dinner was included in the package, which was truly delicious. Post dinner, we made it a point to beat the chill and walk to nearby terrace to gaze the stars and the planets with the help of a guide and his telescope.
Jabal Akhdar Image Gallery Photo viewer
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