Saturday, June 7, 2014

My Trip to Jebel Akdhar with 5 kids under 12: not a good experience overall

Over the weekend my family and I went to Jebel Akhdar (the Green Mountain) in the interior region of Oman. Before getting there, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Our 4x4 rental from the airport required a credit card (which we didn't have on us) so we had to drive to Al Khoud and take what seemed like the only 4x4 left in all of Muscat from there. By the time this was accomplished the day was already so late.

By the time we got to the Interior and visited the friends we had to visit, the kids were starving, so someone recommended a restaurant in Nizwa.  It was HORRIBLE. I mean, coffee shop food for restaurant prices. I hated it. It had "BBQ" in its name I think, I don't remember, but the money was spent all on the decor and not on the menu, that was for certain. With posh sliding wooden panels in Arabic style greeting us, and menu that claimed a chef of each of the menu types offered "Continental" "Chinese" "Indian" I can assure you, the chef of every menu type was not as pictured, as was for certain, Indian. Really, I've had my meal for .600 baiza and better at a coffee shop, but our total bill was 30 OMR for nothing. I hate pizza hut in Nizwa, but it would have been less cost for better food. Decor is nice. But I mean, the scary looking Yemeni mandhi restaurant down the road with the burnt-out wall?: doesn't look like much but has totally awesome tasting food worth what you pay for it. "BBQ" whatever it was named, not so much. I give it a 2/10. From now on, I stick to the awesome Egyptian fateeras (with real cheese) from that Nizwa pastry shop (mmm, so good).
Going to Jebel Akdhar requires a 4x4 by law. If you are renting make sure you take the ownership and rental papers from the rental company, or you'll spend time, as we did, with police phoning the company and you praying that they actuall answer their phones. Lucky for us, they did.
 First impressions of Jebel Akdhar were, that is was not as green as we envisioned, and that it was certainly hot that day, although cooler than in Nizwa. The kids only really enjoyed the parks, and the walk down to the abandoned village of wadi bani habib. They were mad that none of the cold stores sold icecream. I mean, I think even  "Select" at one of the gas stations would be a good investment here, since there are so many tourists. Icecream and snacks are kind of essential. Also, maybe someone to clean the public toilets near wadi bani habib staircase?: I don't mean to complain so much but it made the trip seem, I don't know, dissapointing.
 Now, another OPNO girl who braved a lot more hiking than I was willing to with troop of kids that would surely demand to be carried back up all of those stairs wrote another post here about her experience in Jebel Akdhar...  but this is all I can say. I am sorry I didn't have a more positive experience, but I didn't really enjoy my time and didn't find it worth the trip and the cost of the car rental. I think if you are a hiker, you might enjoy it more.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a bit of planning would have been beneficial. How did you think you would get a rental car without a card to guarantee it?

Anonymous said...

Generally if we are going to a remote place, we pack our own snacks and food(even if its bought) and have a picnic,which allows you to relax and enjoy the scenery. You can also work out the cost of everything before you decide to go somewhere.I don't know if in Oman you have websites that give reviews of local attractions, because those also help as people rate the toilets and the food available in the area.

My Own Fairytale said...

:-( too bad that it was not such a great time.
Hope your next journey is better Insha'Allah.


Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Anon: the first rental was booked waaaaay ahead of time, they said paying in cash was fine so long as there was a visa card. We had a visa, but not in the driver's name. So that's why that became last minute. It wasn't supposed to be:). Also, the other rental company, I guess someone just returned the 4x4 so that's why the papers weren't stowed inside as per usual.... All in all the rush meant we didn't check on that, so now we know for next time;)

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Anon June 8 2:59 am: yeahhhhh, picnic would have been nice. But alas, facilities should just be there you know? It is SUCH a tourist destination in the summer so..... It just seems logical to me.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

My Own Fairytale: InshaAllah:)