The village located in wadi Bani Habib were crumbling – but they did give us an idea of what village life used to be like not that long ago. These villages were abandoned not due to fighting, but due to progress. As Oman started develop in the mid eighties, the Sultan had schools and roads built in strategic locations. As villagers in the wadis wanted to send their kids to school and have access to roads, many of the villagers ended up moving closer to the schools forming new villages in easier to reach locations. Many of the towns in Oman are quite young, and as development and tourism continues, they continue to experience growth.
I hiked into Bani Habib, however a guide was required for the hiking we did. You can easily visit the abandoned villages by car via the village of Saiq and a small walk down into the wadi on nicely created steps for tourists. Then you can explore to your heart's content!
More info: http://www.ottsworld.com/blogs/oman-mountain-trekking-routes/
Directions by car:
Zero your odometer at the Jebel Akhdar Hotel and head towards the town of Saiq 7km.
Turn right to Wadi Bani Habib 13.5km
Wadi Bani Habib
To get to the old quarter, head through the new town till you get to the parking lot where the road ends. Wadi Bani Habib is on the opposite bank. Walk down the stairs to the wadi, and clamber up the opposite slope where you find a break in the plantation walls.