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Sayq Plateau - A view from our expert author


Village, Sayq Plateau, Oman by Zwawol, DreamstimeA typical small village on the Sayq Plateau where produce is cultivated © Zwawol, Dreamstime

Before the superb tarmac road was finished in 2006, the ascent to the Sayq Plateau was a gruelling 6-hour climb up a near-vertical path. A special kind of jabal donkey was used, tough and agile like a goat, as an unburdened, normal donkey would not cope with such an ascent, let alone when loaded. The plateau itself is at 2,000m, with temperatures to match. Even during the day, you will need thick clothing here in the winter months.

On the south-facing slopes villages grow almonds, apples, apricots, figs, grapes, lemons, peaches, pomegranates, roses and walnuts and scattered under the trees and bushes barley, garlic and onion thrive.

The road alone is worth the visit: there are several parking areas at higher elevations and on clear days the views are stupendous. There’s no need to keep looking over your shoulder, as you will descend on exactly the same road. After nearly 12km of gear-crunching ascent, the road reaches over 2,000m and the general undulating plateau area. The rocks here are limestone, faulted through the collision of the surrounding ophiolite on the plain below.

On the south-facing slopes villages grow almonds, apples, apricots, figs, grapes, lemons, peaches, pomegranates, roses and walnuts and scattered under the trees and bushes barley, garlic and onion thrive.

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