Create memorable mountain moments01/10/2019
After you've enjoyed exploring the cultural wonders of Muscat jump into a 4x4 and follow the winding roads towards Jebel Akhdar for a magical mountain experience. Ellen, our Marketing Executive shares the reason why Jebel Akhdar is one of her favourite places in the world, and what you can expect when you feel the urge to visit the mountains...
Often when I create high expectations of a place in my mind, I can end up returning home a little disappointed. However Oman, and the Jebel Akhdar region, not only matched my preconceived ideas but exceeded them.
As we drove higher up the smooth winding tarmacked road from Nizwa, we left the hot humidity of the city behind in exchange for the cooling breeze of Jebel Akhdar. Every moment that passed was accompanied by yet another rewarding view of the 'Green Mountains' (considered by many as the fruit bowl of Oman for its roses and pomegranate blooms). Changing right before my eyes, the diverse landscape went from barren lunar-like plateaus to rugged and towering mountains swirled with layers of limestone and accompanied by the amusing sight of goats strolling along the roadside.
2,000m above sea level our home for the night, was the serene Alila Jabal Akhdar, a place where time seems to stand still and you can truly immerse yourself in nature. This luxurious resort evokes a traditional Omani village with a strong commitment to preserving the exceptional beauty of the region. I was pleasantly surprised to see all the little eco-friendly touches, from natural stone constructions and refillable soap dispensers to the resort's farm where vegetables are grown.
Taking time to sit and reflect is the real reward of staying at Alila. Perched overlooking a magnificent canyon, the only sound you can hear is the cry of a nearby goat or the rumble of cascading waterfalls. Although there are plenty of adrenaline-pumping activities you can try here, including a zip line right into the heart of the canyon, we each took time to enjoy the tranquility of our surroundings. Enjoying a bit of downtime after our journey, each of us choose a different way to unwind; I opted for a relaxing soak in the stone bathtub admiring the view, Michelle watched the thunderstorm as it reverberated around the canyon and Chris went for a swim in the heated indoor pool.
Later we met Issam our host for the evening on the terrace outside and sat by the fire pit watching the sunset illuminate the canyon rocks. Out dinner at the Juniper Restaurant was a feast of treats including the traditional Arabic beef tagine and hummus with pitta bread.
A real highlight of our stay at Alila was admiring the treasures of the night sky with a stargazing session on the sundeck led by the resident astronomer. We learnt about different constellations and peeked through the lens of the telescope to see Saturn surrounded by its large rings and Jupiter with four of its many moons - a moment that will stay with me forever.
I'm not a morning person and usually, the thought of getting up early to exercise is highly unappealing, but although the bed was incredibly comfy at Alila it seemed a waste to lie in bed when the opportunity of sunrise yoga was available. Led by an instructor from Bali, the sunrise Hatha yoga was in fact well worth setting my alarm for. As the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm and practising yoga with that spectacular canyon view was the most enriching start to a day I've experienced.
We ended our blissful stay at Alila with a pampering session at the spa. Michelle and Chris both opted for back massages, but I choose to have a rejuvenating foot massage. A treatment I would highly recommend for anyone looking to soothe their aching muscles after a day hiking through the mountains.
Sad to be leaving this beguiling resort behind, we got back in our 4x4 and Sultan our driver enthusiastically procalimed, ' here we go!' to announce the start of our incredible off-roading adventure down the mountains and through the wadis, back to Muscat.
Jabal Akhdar and Alila will always hold a special place in my heart; this serene mountain region will enchant you, its a must for any trip to Oman.
If the mountains are calling you and you'd like to create an unforgettable Oman itinerary for your next holiday give our friendly reservation team a call. For more inspiration search 'Oman Holidays' on our Beachcomber Tours blog where our staff share their expert tips and advice.