Discover the beauty of this misterious country, the Sultanate of Oman with White Oryx

Al Hamra

Al Hamra

Jabal Shams, the village of Misfah, al Hootah Cave, Hasat bin Salt, Bait al Safa and Bait al Shari'ah are the main tourist attractions in the Wilayat of al Hamra, which lies in the north-western part of the Jabal al Akhdhar range. It borders on the Wilayat of Nizwa to the east and the Wilayat of Bahla to the south. Its inhabitants live in the centre of the wilayat and the villages of al Mensur, al Sahmah, al Qaryah, Dhat Khail, Tawi Saleem, Dar al Khair and al 'Aridh, to name but a few. It is renowned for its wadis, aflaj, gardens and orchards, while the mountain of Jabal Shams, which rises to 12,000 feet above sea level, is its most significant natural feature. It can be reached via the Wadi Ghul road, from which it is possible to see the stone village of Sabt Bani Khamis perched on the edge of a cliff beneath a huge overhanging rock. The slopes of the mountain are covered with buu and nimt (Sageretia spiciflora) trees, junipers, wild olives, milkweed and other plants, and the air is cool and refreshig.
A resthouse with several rooms has been built on the mountain and is staffed by Omanis. A visit to Jabal Shams provides an opportunity to see its rock formations, dams, mountain villages and wadis. Near the summit there is a breathtaking view into a chasm called Sharfat al Nakhr cut deep into the heart of the mountain.


An old mountain pass between two and three Kilometres long has been marked out on Jabal Shams between the villages of al Khutaim and Ghul. The rougher stretches have been made easier for walking, internationally recognized signs have been installed along the route and some spots have been marked with phosphorous paint. Maps are available of all the mountain passes. The government has also constructed fifteen surface storage dams to supply water for the local inhabitants. Over 3,000 feet high, Misfah al Abriyeen is a village built of stone and gypsum with green orchards and an ancient citadel known as "Rowghan", which is believed to pre-date Islam. The name also suggests this. Bait al Shari'ah is a large building which used to have forty rooms. The mountain side at Misfah is planted with terraced plots of date palms, limes, sweet oranges, grapes, figs and mulberries. The village receives its water from a single spring on the wadi bed and anyone who stands at the source and looks at the orchards will find that they look like hanging gardens, because they are at a higher elevation than the flow from the spring.


Some of al Hamra's historic old residential quarter is still inhabited. Most of the houses are two-storied. Al Qaryah, in the western part of the wilayat, is in a superb setting and is surrounded on all sides by palm groves and lime orchards.

Traditional Occupations
The traditional occupations are, agriculture, animal husbandry and folk remedies, and the industries are extracting red sugar, making rose water and lemon juice. They also make rope and textiles.