The fortress of Nakhal was the perfect start for our “fortress hoping” in Oman. Its hilltop location makes it the perfect photo opportunity, probably the best of all Omani fortresses and we should know – we visited eight out the 500 in total! Sitting majestically on a small hill is one thing, but this superbly renovated fortress brings its past back to life. Rooms full of old furniture and tools put the visitors hundreds of years back in time. Construction started in the 9th century, but extensions and renovation only ended in 1990.
Not too far from Nakhal is the village of Thuwarah, a most picturesque oasis surrounded by palm trees shading a small creek. Tempted to wade around? Be aware of the fish! Groups of small fishes start nibbling on your feet as soon as you dip them into the lukewarm water. If you can stand the tickling though, your feet will be probably absolutely clean after a few minutes…
Enthused by Nakhal, we drove straight to Rustaq: another ancient fort on a very strategic location at the foot of the Hajer Mountains. We circled the huge fortress by car, walked along the wall that surrounds it on foot but found no entrance. For unknown reasons, the fortress was closed and with the entrance only being a very small door, it took us quite a while to find out.
Not being able to visit Rustaq Fort may have saved us from serious trouble because our trip to Jebel Sham that same day, high up in the Hajer Mountains, turned out very differently to what we expected!