Nakhal Fort is by far the most impressive fort/castle I’ve seen in Oman! Some tourists & expats may feel that “once you’ve seen one fort in Oman, you’ve seen them all” but that is SO wrong! I agree that there are some pretty pathetic forts out there, but Nakhal, in my books, is a definite MUST SEE in Oman! The town of Nakhal is about 100 kms from Muscat or about 70 kms from Seeb City Centre (I clocked it!). Once you reach Barka (about 40 kms from Seeb City Centre), it’s another 30 kms to Nakhal. Something that I just learned is that the name “Nakhal” originates from the Arabic word “Nakheel” meaning “date palm“! The main entrance to the impressive fort with the guard awaiting guests to pay their 500 baiza entrance fee. This restored fort is at least 1000 years old (I was told) and some believe it is even pre-Islamic. If you get a chance to visit Nakhal, give yourself plenty of time to walk up and down the walls and to climb the tower stairs of this fortress. I was there almost an hour taking in all the sights before the guard kicked me and an Indian family out. The sign said “closed at 4pm” but I was there from 5-5:45pm on a Thursday evening. This was the only fort I’ve been to that has been open even beyond the posted hours! This room was labelled as the “Summer Sitting Room” or “Barzah“. Nekhal boasts one of the largest date palm plantations in Oman. The surrounding palm trees really add to the beauty of the fort and everywhere you turn seems like a postcard view! Inside the fort are living quarters for the Wali (regional leader), kitchen, date store room, male and female majlis and this spooky looking jail that looked like it had quite a few spots for hanging prisoners on the walls. This seemed to be some sort of punishment or containment device for prisoners. (?) This friendly guard, Masoot, was kind enough to pose by one of the fort cannons on my first visit (and hopefully not the last) to Nekhal Fort. I love how the guard’s dishdasha seems to match the color of the fort walls in this pic! One last look at Nekhal Fort as I walked towards my car for the almost one hour drive back to Muscat.
For those of you who prefer videos, enjoy this short clip: If you live in Oman and have never been to Nakhal Fort, I highly recommend a visit sometime soon. You will definitely not be disappointed!