Stepping back in time, we entered Misfat Al Abriyeen, a town literally built into the mountainside. It is one of Oman’s oldest villages. In English, it is the Green Mountain, an obvious name when one looks around this desert only to discover lush date palm and banana groves.
The mountain village of Misfat Al Abriyeen is a maze of alleys surrounded by traditional buildings, often tall mud structures built into and around the mountainside of Jebel Akhdar.
The Omani people here follow a more traditional lifestyle, and we found them to be warm and welcoming.
If you look closely at the image above, you can see the modern additions like the electric wiring, a water tank, cars, and the satellite dish in the upper left of the photo.
Yet, remnants of tradition can be seen everywhere.
Traditional oil and water jugs in the window
According to our guide, one of the most classic Omani scenes in this mud village is water and oil jars hanging in the window of a home.
Local customs in Misfat Al Abriyeen
As Misfat increases in popularity amongst Oman tourist attractions, a sign now stands at the village entrance welcoming visitors. It points out the highlights and offers suggestions to make a visit more enjoyable for everybody. “We kindly request you to respect our customs”:
- Wear unrevealing clothing; cover your upper arms while shorts/skirts should cover your knees.
- Greet people you meet on the track.
- Ask before taking photographs of local people.
- Do not enter private property without an invitation, even if it appears deserted.
- Keep off the grass and do not help yourself to any fruits or vegetables! This is our livelihood.
- Respect the privacy of the ‘Ladies Area’ that is clearly marked with ‘No Entry’ signs.
- Water is valuable! Do not bathe in or pollute surface water streams or falaj as remote communities rely on them for drinking water and irrigation.
- Accepting hospitality is considered polite. Remove footwear before entering a house; ladies should not offer to shake hands; in traditional homes, sit on the floor (oldest first); avoid showing the soles of your feet; offer and accept with your right hand; and kawah (coffee) is served in very small portions – accepting three servings is also considered polite.”
Touring Misfat Al Abriyeen with a guide
We visited Misfat Al Abriyeen as part of a private day tour from Muscat. It was one of the best choices we made in Oman.
Our guide was fantastic. He was interesting, knowledgeable and flexible. He shared intriguing anecdotes and demonstrated everyday life to us. Plus, he spoke the language, which allowed us to ask so many more questions as well as to communicate more effectively with locals.
Our private tour took us to the Al Hajar Mountains, with a primary visit to Oman’s former capital city, Nizwa where we saw both new and traditional markets, a fort and a castle.
The mountain range is huge, and the areas surrounding various peaks have names. Misfat Al Abriyeen is in the Jebel Akhdar region, an area best known as the growing region of the world’s best pomegranates.
Al Hajar Mountains are Oman’s tallest mountain range; the peak is Jebel Shams. Here we stood in awe overlooking the Omani Grand Canyon. This stunning site is one we may not have found without our private day trip from Muscat.
While we can’t find our guide online, we had a good look at the reviews, and feel comfortable recommending either of these two options.
- Reserve your private tour to Jebel Shams and Misfah (Misfat Al Abriyeen) here, or
- Design your own tour with a guide from ToursByLocals
Practical information on visiting Misfat Al Abriyeen
- If I were to repeat this trip, I would probably try to get a better life experience and stay in Misfat Oman overnight, most likely at the Misfah Old House or the Al Misfah Hospitality Inn.
- We based ourselves in Muscat at the Tulip Inn and hired guides to take us on day and overnight trips in Oman. We loved the central location and the elegant mix of modern and classic. The Tulip Inn was clean, colourful and had staff that was both friendly and helpful. We recommend it as a mid-range option in Muscat. Reserve your room at Tulip Inn here.
- However, if you seek the pinnacle of luxury, the Shangri-La Resort looks heavenly. Located right at the water’s edge, it is where I will stay if I ever get back to Muscat. Reserve your room at Shangri-La Resort here.
- Driving looks comfortable on modern roads with few other vehicles. While we could have done it all on our own, we were glad to have a guide. He offered a historical and local perspective that we would have missed. Plus, I am not sure how we would have faired in the flash floods without a guide.
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Have you been to Misfat Al Abriyeen or anywhere in Oman?
More of our adventures in the Middle East …