Wadi Saada is unique to its constant flowing water. It is also part of the infamous Wadi Al Muaiden, known for its dam where picnic goers gather. Don’t let this non-technical canyon deceive you for being an easy one. Wadi Saada should be taken seriously amongst the medium to hard canyons for 2 reasons:
- For constantly having to climb your way around boulders.
- You will spend a significant amount of time route-finding.
I rate it as 2-B-PG-IV based on the ACA canyon rating.
I have been to Wadi Saada twice so far, and I have to say it did not get any easier the second time. We lost a lot of time searching our way through, the first time we explored Wadi Saada. It started to rain in the early afternoon that day, but we were lucky to have had reached the midpoint, a place we could safely camp away from any floods. Yes, floods can be fatal.
My second trip to Wadi Saada was right after a flood. Using the expression “it went through a storm” is an understatement for what we saw. The flood’s aftermath is enough to show the horror story the wadi went thru. I am grateful for not ever being caught in a flood.
Wadi Saada Camp, just after crossing the meander, and just before descending into the pool. High ground & Sheltered.
Like most of Oman’s canyons, Wadi Saada is a mix of multiple terrains. Pools, knee deep ponds, streams, boulders, gravel, mud, jumps and a falaj (a falaj is a type of water irrigation system used in Oman).
There is only one way for Wadi Saada, starting from Sallut and finishing at Wadi Muaiden. You can of course explore the canyon the opposite direction starting from the Wadi Muaiden village and finishing in Sallut.
I recommend following the water most of the time, except for a few places. About 30 minutes in, you will reach a plantation to the right, the path is not obvious, so find your way down by the water stream just below the plantation.
At one point the canyon becomes a winding small meander with water flowing from one pool to another (around 4 hours in at 23° 02’1.60″ N 57° 38.248’E). This is where you must take the old donkey path to the left side of the meander, overlooking at a grey slab on the opposite side, and bypass the meanders all the way to a very nice pool with a beautiful waterfall.
After this section, most of the canyon is wide open, and purely wayfinding exercise while bouldering around rocks. The last hour or so, you can walk on the old Falaj all the way to the end.
Wadi Saada, the last pool before taking the bypass (old trail) on the left side, opposite to the big sloppy slab.
Wadi Saada, inside the meander, I don’t recommend going in the meander if you are not capable to climb back up, or if you don’t have rope.
You will need an acceptable fitness to do this canyon. It is a long canyon and requires lots of bouldering/climbing around on uneven terrain.
Like most of Oman’s canyon, you will be surrounded by enormous walls and large boulders. I liked 2 things in Wadi Saada, one is the constant change of scenery and second is the number of beautiful trees. And of course, not to mention the old abandoned settlements.