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Time Required : 20 - 25 minutes

Anti-Gravity Point, Salalah Overview

Located on the route between Mirbat and Salalah, is a desolate stretch of road which defies gravity as a car put in Neutral gear will start moving uphill at a speed of up to 35 km/hr. This bizarre experience has a lot of scientific explanations for this; most common being that this is an anti-gravity hill. Regardless, this is a fun spot to visit for mystery-junkies and families alike.

Simply explained, stop your car on the road, put it into Neutral gear, and wait. By some trick of physics, the car appears to be moving uphill seemingly on its own. The bigger and heavier the car, the faster it moves.

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The Phenomena & Multiple Explanations

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The name "Anti-Gravity Point" is a misnomer as anti-gravity would mean that things would start floating. It can more correctly be called a gravity hill. Wikipedia defines a gravity hill as ‘a place where the layout of the surrounding land produces an optical illusion, making a slight downhill slope appear to be an uphill slope. Thus, a car left out of gear will appear to be rolling uphill against gravity.’ It is a simple-enough explanation. The slope of gravity hills is an optical illusion, although sites are often accompanied by claims that magnetic or supernatural forces are at work. The most important factor contributing to the illusion is a completely or mostly obstructed horizon. Without a horizon, it becomes difficult to judge the slope of a surface, as a reliable reference is missing. Objects one would normally assume to be more or less perpendicular to the ground (such as trees) may actually be leaning, offsetting the visual reference.

The landscape tricks the eye into thinking the road is flat when in fact it is not. To prove any discrepancies in the slope, try pouring water on the ground and it will flow in the “uphill” direction, though it is actually downwards. Likewise, you can use any app on your phone (like My Tracks) to calculate the accurate measurements of elevations, which would show that instead of ascending the hill, you are actually descending. However, scientific explanation or not, this an enjoyable experience.

Tips For Visiting Anti-Gravity Point

1. As it is a rural region, there might be some animals like goats and camels roaming around. Steer clear of them and let them have their way.
2. If you're visiting during the Khareef season, drive carefully as the road may become slippery.
3. If you enjoy wildlife, continue driving up this road towards Tawi Atyar - the road itself eventually loops back to join the main highway route 49. Camels, donkeys, cows and goats all mill along the side of the road and eagles, and other raptors circle overhead. There is also a forest of baobab trees ahead.

How To Reach Anti-Gravity Point

En-route on the Salalah-Mirbat road, take the right turn for Tawi Attyr and drive for about half a kilometre. This is the road. Approximately 27 km from Taqah on the Taqah-Mirbat road, there will be a narrow road going inland. Keep a lookout for it as it could be easy to miss, and there are no signposts. Drive along this road till you see a flat-topped tree on the right-hand side followed by a downhill curve before the road goes up into the mountain pass. This is where the magic happens. It is preferable to travel by your own car, but private taxis also come here. Unless you know the exact location of this spot, don?t try to look for it as there no clear demarcations marking this as a tourist attraction and you could get lost. Even a lot of locals don't know this place by name.

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