by ALI MOHAMMADI
Ain Sahban is a water spring in Al Batinah region of Oman, near Sohar, that is extremely unique with a bunch of fantastically light blue coloured pools occurring due to the high sulfur concentration in the water.
Ain Sahban has been a place to visit on my radar for the past couple of years now, ever since I heard about this ‘sulfur pools with weird colours’ somewhere in Sohar, and then saw some photos of said pools. I finally managed a visit during a recent trip to Sohar to catch up with my friend there and we managed to visit the pools for a couple of hours. The biggest attraction and the first thing that strikes you are the extremely unique colours of the water pools formed at Ain Sahban springs – and these are apparently due to the naturally high sulfur content of the water from the spring.
The source of the spring is somewhere underground or through the mountains, and I highly suspect the rocks in this particular area contribute either entirely or significantly to the unique colour of the water, as the pools upstream and downstream of the ~200m or so stretch of light-blue pools that constitute this attraction are completely normal, and just like any other wadi in Oman.
Besides the colour of the pools, I did not see much else to explore or do in these pools as they are quite small and it looked like there is only one spot where the water is deep enough to swim. The water feels quite warm and it depends on your belief on how good water with higher sulfur content is good for your body, skin etc to decide whether you should swim or not – but I decided not to partake as there was a big group there already in the water during my visit. I would not advise drinking from it and you should ensure your younger ones do not do that.
Visiting Ain Sahban does not require much physical effort as you can get to it by driving straight there. Therefore, it could be an attraction that is quite suitable for families, young kids or older people. There is still a tiny bit of scrambling just to get to the water from the graded road – but that shouldn’t be a problem. This also means (fortunately or unfortunately – depending on your outlook on these matters) that Ain Sahban can get quite busy – I estimated at least 5 other groups during my visit on a late Friday afternoon – so I would not consider it the most serene place to visit. If you like to do a bit of walking, then you can also stop your car at the local village and walk the short distance through the village farms and falaj system to reach Ain Sahban springs. The walk is easy but may require you to wade through some palm fronds with prickly leaves.
The close distance of Ain Sahban springs to the United Arab Emirates border (of approximately 60 km) makes it a perfect location if you are visiting from Abu Dhabi or Al Ain, where you could also possibly combine it with other outdoor activities in Buraimi – Jabal Qitar for one, and that is one I am really eager to explore!
Considerations for visiting Ain Sahban:
A 4WD car is required as getting to Ain Sahban springs requires driving off-road for about ~7 km – it may be possible to do the first parts of it with a normal car but the road does get tougher later one so I wouldn’t advise going with anything but a 4WD car.
If you decide to part your car at the nearby village and get to Ain Sahban springs through the village farm, then please do consider the need to respect local customs and ensure you are dressed conservatively as you will be passing right through the village. Also, ensure you are not blocking or parking on anyone’s property when you park your car.
How to get to Ain Sahban:
You can get to Ain Sahban by taking the exit indicated ‘Sahban just off the high-way connecting Sohar to Buraimi. The turn-off is approximately 65 km from either Sohar or Buraimi. This makes it under 3 hours journey from either Muscat or Abu Dhabi. From Sohar side, you will need to go under a narrow bridge to the other side of the road and follow the road briefly until you see a brown sign indicating that distance to Ain Sahban is 6.7 km – and this is where the off-road starts.
About the Contributor: Ali Mohammadi is a blogger and tour guide who has been running Oman Tripper since 2012. His blog was founded in order for him to showcase and share some of the fantastic places worth visiting in Oman. Ali is also a licensed tour guide and conducts customised tours and hiking trips whenever time permits. Read more stories at OmanTripper.com and follow him on social media at OmanTripper.