Bilad Seit — Oasis amidst mountains
THE mountains of Oman are a big draw with tourists, not only due to their natural beauty and moderate temperature, but scattered green oases, which have flourished for thousands of years.
The mountain terrain has not deterred rural Omani folk from utilising every inch of fertile areas. All along, they have cultivated the land, grown crops and transformed mountain oases into agricultural gardens.
Bilad Seit in Rustaq is a fine example of a hanging oasis, situated about 1,000 metres above sea level. Bilad Seit is endowed with stunning natural beauty comprising lush greenery of date palm trees and golden wheat plantations.
Ruins of old neighbourhood stand amid these plantations, evoking an aura of antiquity. The spectacular landscape makes Bilad Seit a unique tourist attraction.
The village represents a beautiful work of art in which greenery mingles with various hues of mountains. The tranquil setting amidst plantations is punctuated by water springs that gush out of mountains.
The village has three water springs that converge in a major falaj. Tourists visit these springs, which originate from high points and forcefully fall to reach the falaj. Village houses are built at higher levels amid plantations where a watchtower stands above all, offering a grand view of the surrounding areas and plantations.
The watchtower can be reached through a narrow path which runs by the houses. A wadi running through Al Sakhri village is considered a big tourist attraction owing to its rare topography, narrow paths and high setting.
During rains, water from mountains surrounding Bilad Seit flow through this wadi, nurtured by waterfalls that pour into Al Hajir and Haat wadis. When wadis overflow, the waterfalls continue for over a week.
This passage leads to village farms while another passage takes visitors to springs. The villagers have built a bridge across the falaj to facilitate access to farms in the eastern side. Bilad Seit is bordered in the east by Wadi al Hajir, which is nurtured by water flowing from Wadi Haat.
During the rainy season, water continues to flow in these wadis for more than two months. Bilad Seit is characterised as a resting place for people coming from Al Hamra via Jabel Shams and for those travelling to Rustaq.
Owing to its touristic significance, a specialised organisation has been assigned to upgrade the facilities so that it emerges a unique site on Oman's tourism map.
Safety guidelines for visitors
- A four-wheel drive vehicle is necessary to access Bilad Seit, especially when proceeding from Al Hamra.
- Moving along narrow passages during rains is not advised due to heavy flow of water.
How to reach Bilad Seit
- From Barka roundabout, follow the road to Rustaq via Nakhal and Al Awabi to arrive at the turn leading to Wadi Bani Auf, at a distance of 71 km.
- Follow the road to Wadi Bani Auf and after a distance of 13 km along the winding road, turn left to the road leading to Bilad Seit.
- Keep driving for a distance of 7.8 km to arrive at Al Zamah village, from where you continue driving for 5 km on the mountain road and turn right and travel 2 km to reach Bilad Seit.
- Bilad Seit is accessible from the Interior region via Al Hamra road where you turn right and travel 40 km.
- Road signs are available all along the road.