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Sumail Gap

Distance from Muscat - 75 km
Average drive time - 45 minutes
How to get there - Saloon cars can be hired from Car rental agencies.

The only natural pass through the northern jebels traces the trail of the old Silk Route caravans as they carried their goods from the Far East to communities of the interior. Follow the paths taken by Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta to Fanja, the traders' crossroads, and the towns of Bid Bid, Sumail and Al Khobar, replete with castles and fortifications. Stop by the roadside fruit markets of Ad Dasir to sample pomegranates, pumpkin and sweet lemons.

On the far end of the Gap just past Izki is the verdant plantation town of Birkit Al Mawz (which translates "pool of bananas"). Indeed, from the ridge above the town the spreading forest of dates and banana trees give the impression of a deep pool. From this ridge you will see why Birkit Al Mawz is known as the "rainbow city," due to the anticlinal structure of rocks at the base of the ridge behind the town. The rocks frame the old quarter like a rainbow.

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