Beyond Al Hoota Cave lies the start of the spectacular descent of the Western Hajar down a sheer escarpment through Wadi Bani Awf (or Auf), widely considered the most memorable off-road drive in the country. This is Oman at its most nerve-janglingly dramatic, with stupendous scenery and a rough, vertiginous track which challenges the skills of even experienced off-road drivers – not to be attempted lightly, and best avoided during or after rain.

The entire off-road section between Sharafat al Alamayn and the main road at Awabi takes around 2–3hr. The track is regularly graded but gets very churned up after spells of bad weather. It’s also possible to tackle the route in reverse, driving up from the Batinah, although the driving is easier and the views generally better heading downhill.