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Reach Oman’s highest peaks and hike ancient donkey trails with Alila Jabal Akhdar

Reach Oman’s highest peaks and hike ancient donkey trails with Alila Jabal Akhdar

THE RECENTLY opened Alila Jabal Akhdar, located in the Al Hajar mountains of Oman, has launched a wealth of Alila experiences, allowing guests the chance to discover Jabal Akhdar through its traditions, environment, the roots of its people and daily rituals

alilajabalakhdar-suites-jabal-villa-pool-01The experiences are led by Alila’s Leisure Concierges, local experts who know the region well and are passionate about sharing their knowledge and stories. From tailored treks reaching Oman’s highest peaks and hiking ancient donkey trails, there are ‘surprisingly different’ experiences to suit all.

alilajabalakhdar-destination-mountainsA Mirage in the Mountains – Starting from the wadi (dry waterway), just a few minutes from the resort, The Mirage in the Mountains walk takes approximately three hours and is the perfect way to get a close look at the natural wadi system, learn about the various bushes and trees around this fertile part of the mountain, as well as observe the various rock formations. Alila Jabal Akhdar’s Leisure Concierge will guide guests on a climb up to discover the local ‘mirage’, the village of Sarab, which is the nearest abandoned village to the resort and the original home of the members of the community, some of whom are associated with the resort. The area can be freely explored and guests can visit each ‘house’ and marvel at the basic way of life lived here without electricity or running water, just fifteen years ago. The walk ends close to a natural stone formation which forms a water cascade during rainy periods. The Mirage in the Mountains experience takes three hours and costs from £10 per person.

alilajabalakhdar-destinations-village01Splendour of Saiq Plateau The Saiq Plateau is where guests can embark on the most well known local hike, dubbed ‘The Village Walk’. This walk is suitable for all levels of fitness and winds through the villages of Al Ayn and Shoraighiah, bringing guests up close to the terraced farmlands that grow the region’s prized Damask roses and pomegranates, as well as the intricate irrigation system known as ‘falaj’. Guests will have the chance to engage with local farmers and learn about the rose water distillery process. Those keen on extending this hike can continue the village walk by following route 18A to the abandoned village of Wadi Bani Habib, and walk among the remains of houses that offer a glimpse of traditional life in these valleys. The Saiq Plateau experience includes a picnic lunch and costs from £22 per person for the five-hour tour and £31 per person for the six-hour tour.

alilajabalakhdar-suites-ridge-view-03Misfat Al Abriyyin and Jebal ShamsThe Misfat Al Abriyyin is an ancient donkey trail, starting at the village of the same name, 950 metres above sea level and following a path through the mountain terrace to Aqbat Al Hamra. The trail continues 1,500 metres upwards to Hayl Al Jawari, from where guests can follow a 3.5 kilometre walk to Sharad Al Alamayn or even higher to the top at 2,197 metres. This hike takes approximately five to six hours to ascend and four hours to descend, offering spectacular views of Wadi Bani Awf and the surrounding mountains. The truly adventurous can rise to the challenge and hike up the well-known ‘Summit Walk’ trail to reach the Jebal Shams, (Mountain of Sun), the highest point in Oman at 2,997 metres high. The Misfat Al Abriyyin and Jebal Shams full-day experiences cost from £50 per person departing Alila Jabal Akhdar at 6am.

alilajabalakhdar-suites-jabal-villa-exterior-01Developed in partnership with Omran, a prominent operator and asset manager of tourism in Oman, the resort is one of the country’s most sustainable, built to EarthCheck standards and gold certified. Designed to minimise impact on the surrounding environment, whilst maximising on the area’s outstanding natural beauty, the resort has used locally sourced materials and traditional artisanal craftsmanship. The resort has drawn inspiration from its Oman location in all aspects – from its architecture and interiors, to the specially crafted ‘Islamic Mediterranean’ cuisine, with the famous juniper and roses that grow locally, featuring prominently throughout the menu.

alilajabalakhdar-suites-jabal-villa-master-bedroom-01The interiors of the 78 suites and villas have been inspired by the fragrant pink roses, which blanket the mountainside in springtime. Each come complete with their own balconies or terraces, perfect for sunsets and stargazing, whilst the infinity pool stretches out over the gorge. The two Jabal Villas, named Jowz and Rummanah after the walnuts and pomegranates found in the region, offer guests the ultimate in privacy with two en-suite bedrooms, large living spaces, private pool and terraces.

alilajabalakhdar-dessert03Rooms at Alila Jabal Akhdar start from £180 per night based on two people sharing and including breakfast.

 

About The Author

Mike Cowton

Michael Cowton, an outdoors writer, editor and photographer with a passion for nature-based travel and wildlife. He is a former editor of EcoTravel, Outdoor Pursuits, Camping, Lakeland Walker and Which Motorcaravan magazines, and national newspaper journalist.

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