Five hundred Omanis from different parts of the sultanate came together earlier this month as a family to promote domestic tourism and encourage the culture of sports and outdoor activities among members of society.
The hike in the Governorate of Buraimi was spearheaded by Buraimi Charity Team with the cooperation of the tourism administration of North Batinah. Held on March 7, the event was called Watanak Amanah, or Your Homeland and Honesty.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Nasser al Maqbali, head of Buraimi Charity Team, said, “The 11km hike started at 7:30am from Al Khadra. The participants walked to Al Ramsa, in the wilayat of Mahdah, also in the Governorate of Buraimi, where the hike concluded at 12:30 noon.” Members of 25 volunteer teams from different corners of the sultanate participated in the event.
"Hikers carried the flag of the sultanate alongside banners and placards spreading awareness on the benefits of hiking. There was a celebratory mood on the occasion besides renditions of patriotic songs by the hikers expressing their love and allegiance to the country. They also hiked along to the tunes of popular Omani folk songs,” Maqbali said.
The hiking trail covered tracks over plains, wadis and rocky mountains, he informed. Along the way, participants took breaks of a few minutes for water and have dates to re-energise themselves before setting off again.
“Among other objectives of the hike was an attempt to help the participants appreciate the unique beauty of the Omani landscape. We also aimed to raise awareness among members of society on the urgent need to conserve the environment. Additionally, this was an effort to form long-lasting bonds and friendships between different groups of society and spread the message of love and oneness,” Maqbali further added.
Royal Oman Police and the Ministry of Health helped with smooth conduct of the event by ensuring safety and medical support for the participants who included children and women. “A few elderly and female participants had difficulty hiking the more challenging stretches of the trail which they overcame with the help of young volunteers,” Maqbali said. The event ended with distribution of prizes among the enthusiastic participants.
According to Maqbali, Buraimi Charity Team started organising walks in 2017 having held 18 events in Buraimi and Sohar to promote domestic tourism and introduce citizens and residents alike to the natural landscapes of Oman.
The team hopes to remind people of the ways of our ancestors. “We will organise a major walk in November to celebrate the 50th National Day. I hope more people participate in such walks and encourage their children to play sports,” Maqbali said.