Saturday, March 10

Mountain high. Fjord below.

Our final day in Khasab was spent driving through the dramatic Hajar Mountains that separate Musandam from the United Arab Emirates.  Our half day excursion saw us travel by 4-wheel cars up winding gravel roads until we reached Jebel Al Harim, the highest mountain peak of the Musandam Peninsula.  Our tour stopped short of the summit soaring 2,087 meters above the sea level. The summit is home to yet another of the area’s ubiquitous military listening posts and thus out of bounds for tourists.

The journey through the mountains was without doubt truly spectacular.  The view as we ascended simply grew ever more breath-taking as we rounded each hairpin turn.  Along the way we witnessed goats defying gravity on the cliff faces while catching tantalising glimpses of rural life. 

Highlights included a brief stop to view the Bedouin village of Sayh. Situated at 1100 meters above the sea level Sayh is a small and peaceful village nestled on a mountain plateau that forms a surprisingly green oasis in the dry and harsh terrain. 

We also stopped in the shadows of Jabel Harim around 1600 meters above sea level to view an expanse of fossils dating back several million years.  It was extraordinary to see dozens and dozens of these ancient shellfish encased rock after rock at such altitude.

The tour ended with a drive to the eastern coast of Musandam.  Here we visited a narrow lookout that revealed the azure blue waters of Khawr Najid, perhaps the most stunning of the region’s fjords. Without doubt we’d saved the best view for last. Khawr Najid proved the perfect end to an adventurous weekend.  We drove back to Dubai that afternoon and flew out early the following morning for Frankfurt and a frantic week of business meetings.

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