From Jebel Samhan Plateau, we drove around Baobab Grove to Mirbat. After a short visit, we drove east along Highway 49, passing rugged mountains on our left and the coastline of sandy beaches on our right. We slowly drove around fishing towns and windswept cliffs fringed by the cerulean waters of the Arabian Sea towards Ash Shuwaymiyah.

In the past, residents of Ash Shuwaymiyah wishing to travel to Hasik have had to drive a tortuous 450 km to reach there – or go by sea, despite less than 70 km between the two settlements.

In January 2014, a new stretch of road was opened, cutting the journey to a more manageable 97 kilometers (Ascent 2024 meters, descent 1847 meters). It is a fabulous piece of civil engineering involving excavating 7.8 million cubic meters of material, of which around 5 million was a rock. They had to construct 60,000 square meters of MSE walls and use 120,000 cubic meters of concrete! There are many viewpoints with large parking areas, including one just above the lovely oasis. After reaching Ash Shuwaymiyah, where we stopped on the beach overnight, the road heads inland to Shalim.

Parking location – Ash Shuwaymiyah: 17.883567N 55.613288E (🚻-Al Maha Petrol Station)

Overnight in Adam after a long drive through the desert