Oman // Dhofar //

Wadi Darbat and Jebel Samhan

Continuing along the coastal highway, some 7km beyond Taqah you’ll notice a dramatic cliff just to the left, which turns into a spectacular waterfall during the khareef, spouting cascades of water amid a tangle of lush greenery – one of Dhofar’s most photographed attractions. This cliff marks the entrance to Wadi Darbat (also spelled Dhabat or Derbet), whose waters feed Khor Rori below. For the best view of the waterfall, take the small unsigned road on the left off the coastal highway about 100m before the signed turn-off to Tawi Attair. This leads after 1.5km to a parking space near the foot of the cliff-cum-waterfall, amid seasonal rock pools and with fine views of the tumbling waters above (or, in the dry season, of the pockmarked rocks of the cliff face – known as a “travertine curtain”, a common geological formation in Dhofar – whose original sandstone has been dissolved by the force of the water into strange, wax-like shapes).

A further 100m down the coastal highway you’ll come to another turn-off on the left with a cluster of signs pointing variously to Tawi Attair, Wadi Darbat and Taiq Cave; this is one of several roads which climb into the lofty uplands of the Jebel Samhan, as the section of the Dhofar Mountains east of Salalah is known.

The road begins by climbing steeply up into the hills, with sweeping views down to the coast and Khor Rori below. After 2.5km a turn-off on the left leads (after a further 2.5km) to a car park in the middle of Wadi Darbat. It’s an enjoyable ten-minute walk from here to the top of the waterfall, through wonderful trees, alive with small birdlife, with probably a few wandering camels for company. Seasonal rock pools form up here during the khareef, although a sign warns of the dangers of bilharzia, should you be tempted to take a dip.