Sumhumran to Wadi Darbat – Ancient ruins amidst luxurious views

About 40 Km to the East of Salalah lie the ancient and mysterious ruins of Sumhumran. Situated at the mouth of a river that once flowed from the nearby cliffs into the sea, the excavated stones now sit as a silent sentinel over what was once a bustling first century harbor town.

A minimal gate fee of 2 OMR (per vehicle) will grant you full access to both the Sumhumran Ruins and nearby museum. The road will branch shortly after the entrance. Turn right if you’d like to take a stroll through ancient history, threading a path through the unearthed city. For a more-informed experience, however, make a quick visit to the Museum following the left-hand branch, before heading up the hill to the ruins. In the museum you’ll find informative exhibits, describing the history of Sumhumran, and displaying many small artifacts from the pre-Islamic era of southern Arabia. Both the museum and ruins have spacious parking, and visitors will find that they have a great deal of freedom to explore the area.

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Before leaving the Sumhumran, don’t forget to head down to Khor Rori beach, where you can enjoy spectacular waves during the monsoon months. If you climb the nearby hills, you might even spot a manta ray basking in the crystal clear waters that characterize the locale the remainder of the year. Year-round the white sands are mostly crowd-free, and the majestic cliffs that frame the beach make for magical backdrop if you choose to pause your tour for a picnic.

After wrapping up your time at Sumhumran, end the day with a visit to Wadi Darbat. Up the ancient riverbed, and beyond the mammoth cliffs that overlook the ruins, lies a mountaintop valley. Thanks to an ever-flowing spring, the area immediately surrounding the water stays green year-round. A visit during the famous Khareef season, however, will amply demonstrate why Wadi Darbat remains the poster location for Salalah. Misty hills wrapped in an emerald garment of greenery invite you in to enjoy the overflowing streams and seasonal waterfalls. The whole valley makes for a great spot to picnic, hike or camp if you choose.

Tips for the day:

  • While both Sumhumran and Wadi Darbat are nearby Salalah, there aren’t a lot of local meal options during Khareef, and none to speak of the rest of the year. Be sure to pack plenty of water and snacks at a minimum, and it is recommended to pack lunch.
  • Be sure to pack swimwear if you’d like to enjoy the water at Khor Rori beach . However, if you come during monsoon (Khareef) season, keep in mind that swimming is strictly prohibited due to dangerous undercurrents.
  • Speaking of swimming, be sure to take notice of the “no swimming” signs at Wadi Darbat. Because of the livestock (mostly camels) that craze the area, bacteria inhabits the green pools of the wadi and contact should be avoided. Even so, there are boat rides for hire up the Wadi if you’d like, and make for a relaxing part of your visit.
  • If you visit Wadi Darbat during Khareef, be sure to pack plenty of insect repellent. While the small mosquitos that inhabit the area during the green months are not immediately noticeable, you’ll be sure to notice the itchy bites they leave if you don’t lather up first!
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