Misfat Al Abriyyin, Oman

If there is one place you have to visit in Oman, it’s the tiny village of Misfat Al Abriyyin. There is hardly a mention of it in the Lonely Planet guidebook, but I think it should be noted as one of the top 10 places to visit. We spent a night here, in an old home which has been converted into a guesthouse, and didn’t want to leave. The village and its surrounds are incredibly picturesque, unlike any other place I have seen in our travels through Oman so far.

The old part of the town, in which now only live a few families, is set on top of a mountain and is surrounded by green terraced gardens. The old homes, some of which are thought to be about 200 years old, have unfortunately been left to crumble. It is interesting to wander around the narrow dust covered paths which lead through the villages, but the nicest walks are found in the gardens at the lower part of the village.

We did two of these walks – one which went down and south of the village, and the other which led north and wrapped around the village. There are painted markers on rocks, which look like small red and yellow flags, to guide you and to lead you away from private property.

The first walk we did early in the morning. We followed a path which lead through the gardens on the lower end of the village and veered south. This walk let us down a long set of stairs and into a wadi and then up another set of stairs to the new part of the village. From this point we looked back and had a wonderful view of old village of Misfat Al Abriyyin, which looks as though it is emerging from the rocky mountain and date plantation beneath.

Later that day, we followed the falaj (irrigation system) towards the north. As we walked along the falaj, we wandered through gorgeous date plantations and lush green gardens. Many of the locals were tending their crops, but hardly noticed as as we walked by. The sound of the following water and the crocking of frog, many of which we saw floating though the water, made us feel as though we were in another world.

In the few sentences that refer to Misfat in the Lonely Planet guidebook, it is mentioned that the village is a tourist destination. As much as I urge people to visit, as it is so beautiful, you do not get the sense that the village is much visited by outsiders. We bumped into perhaps 10 visitors at most during the day we spent there, all of which were staying at the only guesthouse in town. There is no sign of tourism, expect for the signs leading to the guesthouse, so it really does feel as though you are visiting an authentic Omani village, which you are.

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Essentials

Getting there:
As there is no public transport throughout Oman, you’ll have to hire a car. The road to the village is seal and can be reached in a regular sedan. However, I would always suggest you hire a 4WD during any road trip through Oman, as there are a number of places you might like to visit which can only be accessible with one.
Misfat Al Abryinni is located about 35km north of Nizwa, along the Nizwa Bahla road. Once you reach Nizwa, follow the signs to Jebel Shams, Al Hoota Cave and Al Hamra. The nearer you get, follow the signs to Al Hamra. Once you are in Al Hamra, there will be signs to Misfat Al Abriyyin, which is a 7km  from Al Hamra. Park your car outside the village, as you can only enter on foot.

Stay & Eat:
The only accommodation and restaurant is Misfat Old House, which can be booked via bookings.com. It is a traditional home, which has been renovated and converted into a guesthouse. The rooms are very simple, but it is a beautiful place to stay. As most places in Oman, it is expensive for what it is, but it’s worthwhile staying in the village and taking your meals on the terrace which overlooks the date plantation and the mountains beyond. If you’re only doing a day trip to Misfat Al Abriyyin, you can also stop by for lunch.

Remember:
You are visiting an Omani village which has been untouched by modernisation. The people are still very traditional, so please be respectful. Wear shirts which cover your shoulders, and skirts and shorts which cover your knees. Always ask to take photos of people and never take photos of the local women.

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Paphos & Akamas Peninsula, Cyprus – Part 2

I was planning to keep this blog up-to-date, but I started working recently (I initially thought I was going to be a stay-at-home expat wife), so have again neglected this blog. It has almost been two months since we visited Cyprus, but here is my final post.

So we spent a wonderful day exploring the Akamas Peninsula. We were extremely lucky with the weather during the time we spent in Cyprus. It was the end of November, but we had incredibly sunny days and the temperature on the coast was a nice 22 degrees celsius. The water was the same temperature, so we also stopped at one of the bays for a swim. Although it was a tad windy, as you can see in the photo below, we could not have wished for better weather.

The bays along the Akamas Peninsula are beautiful, and in November, you can spend a day relaxing by the water and not run into anyone. There were a few people walking along the path from the Baths of Aphrodite to the Blue Lagoon, and one or two other people on quadbikes, but you still felt as though you had the place to yourself.

We headed back to our accommodation in Drousia in the late afternoon. On our way we drove through some of the small rural roads around the village and got some beautiful golden-hued shots of the vineyards and surrounding countryside. The town of Drousia has a population of about 400 people, which swells during the summer months. But in the low season, you can see the locals going about their daily business, tending their fields and wandering through the narrow streets of the village.

We left Cyrpus being very impressed with the country. We spent four fantastic days exploring the southern half of Cyprus. We would like to go back and visit the northern, Turkish administered part of Cyprus some day.

I’m heading to Tanzania next week, so stay tuned for some post from Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and other places in Tanzania. I will also be updating my blog to include a few other places we have visited in Oman over the last few months.

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Essentials

Stay:
We stayed at KTIMA 1937 Kannides (booked on Airbnb) which is a traditional house which has been renovated and converted into five apartments. It was simple and cosy and less than an hour’s drive to the Akamas Peninsula. There is also a new hotel in Drousia, called Dorusia Heights Hotel, for those who are after a bit of comfort and style.

Eat:
Not wanting to venture out too far, we walked down the road from our accommodation and had dinner at Christo’s Tavern. It is run by a lovely husband and wife team and feels like an extension of their home, with simple furniture and a fire place blazing in the winter months. There is no menu, just what’s available on the day.