The Sultanate of Oman is a safe haven for tourists and its residents, with low crime rates, wide roads and access to top-notch medical facilities. Even so, it is always important for explorers to take precautions to keep themselves safe.
Here are top 10 points to keep in mind as you go exploring the beautiful trails and terrain in this beautiful country.
1. Never trek alone: It’s tempting to go solo, if you are longing for some me-time. But quell that temptation with a long walk on the beach, and always take a friend or a guide with you when you go trekking. If you are trekking in a small group, always tell someone where you are going and how long you intend to be there. Many countries do not allow solo trekking, as it is a major strain on national resources to rescue stranded or injured hikers.
2. Don’t overestimate your body: While it is good to challenge yourself – a precarious mountain-top may not be the best place to do it. Many accidents are caused when adrenaline-charged trekkers try and complete a challenge that their bodies are not built for. Don’t succumb to peer-pressure. It’s fine to wait around while more experienced buddies finish the path.
3. Instagram can wait: There are many instances of people losing their footing as the pose for the perfect picture for the social media handles.
4. Keep your phone charged, and carry a battery pack: If in case you are planning a long trek, ensure that your phone is at 100% before you leave.
5. Plan your route: Look up trekking guides online, speak to friends who have been on the same hike and follow the markers as far as you can. Even if you are going off the marked track, turn back when you face a spot that you feel you cannot traverse.
6. Prepare for the weather: Don’t cross wadis when rain is predicted. Don’t trek on mountain edges when it is too windy. Sunstroke is a risk in a sunny country like Oman, so use a high SPF sunscreen. The sun is stronger at high altitudes, so take care if you are high up in the mountains.
7. Carry a compass and a whistle: If you are trekking on uncharted paths, your mobile phone may fail you, but your compass will not. A whistle helps call for attention in case you are in a spot without network connectivity.
8. Gear Up: Always test your gear before you leave – your ropes shouldn’t be frayed. Your shoes should be in good condition, and laced up correctly.
9. Estimate the time, so you can be mentally prepared: Typically, people walk on flat plains at 4km per hour (considering average fitness). For ascents, it takes an hour for about 300 meters of altitude gain. The average time for descent would be 500 meters of altitude per hour. These times are indicative, can vary based on the toughness of the terrain.
10. Be considerate and smart: Respect Nature – she has been around much longer than you have. Don’t interact with wild animals. Stay hydrated, carry emergency snacks and a first-aid kit.
Being well-prepared will give you the confidence and clarity of thought to access risks carefully while trekking. It will help you push your limits within the zone of safety.
Keep the spirit of adventure alive by following this rule - prepare well, hike more, worry less!