Your feedback is important for revising the text prior to reprinting the book, which I intend to do after two years (2022). Of particular interest is your walking times, judgement of difficulty, your reports on the remote sources of drinking water and experience with posting food parcels and any other logistics arrangements.Email feedback on your walking experience
Traversing the Hajar Mountains was the most incredible adventure of our lives. For two weeks we were taken out of the 21st century and into our own magical world where we slept under the stars and drank water from ancient reservoirs while barely seeing another soul, except wild donkeys and fearless mountain goats.
John has crafted a wonderful route taking in the best of the Hajar Mountains while ensuring you are never too far from water or a local settlement, where you might be fortunate to encounter the generous hospitality of the Omani people. We set off as newcomers to the Omani mountains without a local guide; navigating was a rewarding experience using occasional painted markers, GPS and John’s daily description of the route. The hardest and most exposed parts of the trek are comparable to the GR20’s famous Cirque du Solitude, however with consistently good weather the Hajar Traverse is more welcoming.
Wild camping every night greatly contributed to our experience as it allowed us to cook during golden sunsets, fall asleep to shooting stars and rise with the morning sun. Before long our daily rhythm got in sync with the simple yet enriching mountain life. With time we learnt to distinguish between the unpredictable ‘man tracks’ and our preferred gently meandering donkey tracks.
In a valley high among the mountains we drank coffee with a shawawiya (semi-nomadic pastoralist) sharing smiles and a few words of Arabic before we bid him goodnight to set up camp by a 3000 year old donkey track as the old decade faded into the new. If you are in search of an adventure with unexpected turns the Hajar Mountain Traverse will offer you a thousand and one.
Janneke and James, January 2020.
My name is John Edwards and I lived in the Sultanate of Oman with my family from 1991 to 1994 and from 2002 to 2014, spending most of my winters exploring Al Hajar Al Gharbi to the west and Al Hajar Ash Sharqi to the east of my home in Muscat. This is my first book sharing these adventures with fellow hikers. Following this publication I will write about Jabal Kawr and Al Hajar Ash Sharqi. Al Hajar Al Gharbi and Al Hajar Ash Sharqi are the Arabic names for the Western and Eastern Hajar Mountains. My ambition is to encourage long distance walkers into these mountains to sustain the relatively new Omani mountain village bed and breakfast industry that will preserve what remains of these once thriving historic villages that today sadly are being abandoned.
This book and web page would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of my walking companions: Mohamed Al Azri, Mohamed Al Toobi, Hamdan Al Abri, Said Al Shukali, John Van Wunnik, David Lambert and Bill Huguelet. All my companions are either Omanis or long term expatriates living in Oman. I am very grateful for the company of my wife Paula, three children Jennifer, Veronica and Benjamin and our golden retriever who all joined me on some of these walks. Thanks are due to my brother Graeme and friends whom I asked to read and offer advice on this manuscript. Thanks also to Haydee who prepared most of my camping food over many years, and my driver Mr. Hassan who faithfully waited for me at the foot of the mountain so many times, sometimes making a fire to guide me down.