Visiting Bimmah Sinkhole, Oman: Everything You Need To Know
Updated April 2020, Visiting Bimmah Sinkhole was originally written in February 2020
Bimmah Sinkhole is one of the most beautiful natural pools in the world (in my opinion), located in Oman, just an hour-and-a-half drive south of the capital, Muscat. If you have your own transport, visiting Bimmah Sinkhole is a piece of cake, as it’s located right off the main highway connecting Muscat to Sur. I was able to visit Bimmah Sinkhole as part of my bigger Oman road trip and it was definitely one of the coolest places we visited on our itinerary.
Start planning your Oman adventure here: The Ultimate Oman Travel Guide
How Did The Bimmah Sinkhole Come To Be?
The local legend has it that Hawaiyat Najm (Arabic for a falling star) struck the Earth in this very spot, creating the Bimmah Sinkhole. In reality it just a depression in the limestone that fills with brackish water as the sinkhole is only 600 meters from the ocean and does have freshwater that feeds into it. You may also hear the locals refer to Bimmah as Bayt al Afreet, meaning house of the demon, owing to the belief of an aquatic monster that lurks in the waters.
How To Get To Bimmah Sinkhole & Hawaiyat Najm Park
Bimmah Sinkhole is one of the easiest sites in Oman to get to, being located about 130 kilometers south of Muscat, right off the Muscat-Sur Highway near the village of Dibab. The Sinkhole is signposted from the highway, so getting there is very simple.
Hawaiyat Najm Park
The bit of land surrounding Bimmah Sinkhole is called Hawaiyat Najm Park and is well maintained. There are numerous covered pavilions with picnic tables, a toilet, installed rubbish bins, paved walking paths, and a playground.
Bimmah Sinkhole itself is surrounded by a short stone wall for safety (though locals do hop it so that they can dive in from the top). There is an installed set of steps that lead from the park giving access down into the Sinkhole.
Parking is free at the lot here for Bimmah Sinkhole at Hawaiyat Najm Park.
Note that Hawaiyat Najm Park park is open from 8 am to 8 pm daily.
Wanna see Oman but only have limited time? Check out my one week in Oman road trip itinerary
Swimming In Bimmah Sinkhole
Swimming is allowed at Bimmah Sinkhole, but do adhere to the signposted rules requesting that you dress modestly. We actually just swam in our clothes out of respect though we had the sinkhole to ourselves for a large chunk of our visit. Swimming in our clothes wasn’t that bad, thanks to Oman’s hot and arid climate, everything dried in a matter of minutes standing in the sun.
There are small fish that live in Bimmah Sinkhole. We didn’t know this before we had visited and were getting tickled in the water when we were standing around in it. I quickly noticed that it was the same Garra fish that nibble your feet in those ‘fish pedicure’ spas in Thailand and Cambodia. So if you feel a bit of tickling of your feet and legs while swimming here, know it’s just some of the friendly fish that inhabit these waters (and also a great reason to make sure and not wear sunscreen in the water, or to wear an organic + reef-friendly sunscreen).
Don’t miss nearby Wadi Shab
Cliff diving is a popular activity at Bimmah Sinkhole, especially among local boys. The depth of the waters at Bimmah range from only a few feet deep to over 300 feet deep and the top of the sinkhole is about 30 meters/100 feet above the water, so quite high. If you are going to go cliff diving, do exercise extreme caution.
For those of you (like me) who aren’t as fond of heights but still like jumping into crystal clear water, there are places you can do that from. On the far side of Bimmah Sinkhole, there’s a rope tied off to the walls. You can swim across to it and climb up on the rocks and jump from a lower distance of 2-6 meters/6-20 feet.
Looking for more ideas on what to do in Oman? Check out my post: 12 best adventures in Oman for ideas
How Much Time Do I Need?
Realistically you could only visit for a few short minutes to walk from the parking lot to the edge of Bimmah Sinkhole to see it, snap a photo or two and move along. I’d recommend to at least set aside an hour to visit and go for a swim.
Bimmah Sinkhole is a popular day trip from Muscat, in which you could plan a picnic here at Hawaiyat Najm Park after you’ve had a swim in the sinkhole, before departing back to Muscat.
Explore nearby dunes: Camp in the Wahiba Sands
The Best Time To Visit Bimmah Sinkhole
I’ve heard that Bimmah Sinkhole had gotten very popular in the last few years and the park can get quite crowded around midday. My first visit to Bimmah was in 2016, so Oman wasn’t quite as popular a destination as it has become more recently.
I recommend trying to visit at 8 am when the park opens for those wanting to try and get nice photos without too many people around yet. We arrived around 9 am and there was a small group of foreigners having a look around in the sinkhole. Once they left we had the whole place to ourselves for a good half an hour before some local boys showed up to swim around in the water with us.
Oman’s weather is extremely hot in the summer months, so the best time to visit is from October to April.
What To Pack For Visiting Bimmah Sinkhole
- Water shoes/sandals: The bottom of Bimmah Sinkhole is rocky and can be quite sharp. If you have tender feet, water shoes will make swimming and wading more enjoyable.
- Organic sunscreen: Protect your skin from the sun without causing harm to the inhabitants of the sinkhole.
- Microfiber towel: A lightweight microfiber travel towel will come in handy, especially if you’ll be participating in a lot of outdoor activities and camping on your Oman trip.
- Swimsuit + sarong (for women): A one-piece swimsuit with a sarong is a good choice for women trying to swim in more modest options. I swam in my t-shirt and harem pants over my swimsuit and found that to be perfectly acceptable.
- Swim shorts (for men): I noticed that local men and boys tended to swim (and cliff dive) in typical men’s swimshorts.
- Drinking water: I recommend packing your own water bottle and water purification system to reduce plastic waste.
- Picnic lunch or snack: Make use of the picnic pavilions around the park.
- Bradt Oman Guidebook: Handy for planning your travels in Oman.
Have Any Questions About Visiting Bimmah Sinkhole?
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