Day 12: Is This The Place?

We began the tour in Jerusalem, the city that Nephi and his family fled and the starting point for one of the most incredible migration stories in history. On our final full day Jerusalem seemed like a world away. We had spent time in the hot, barren desert and flown over the landscape to comprehend Nephi’s 8 years in the wilderness in some small way. We had slept in tents, walked through dusty ruins, learned about how people survive in the desert, and we even sampled camel’s milk. As close as is possible, we were now all in a situation to appreciate what Nephi and his family had to endure and the incredible faith that they must have had. We were also in a situation to appreciate how they must have felt when, after all those years in the searing desert, the Lord guided them to a place of much fruit and wild honey, a land of fertility, a land of abundance. 

Frankincense tree

Loading the fishing boats

Ready to leave

About to head to Kharfot

Today it was time to visit the most probable location for Nephi’s Bountiful, candidate #3, Khor Kharfot. Getting to Kharfot is no easy feat; it is an adventure in and of itself. The area is not set up for tourism and is uninhabited, even today. We had to wind our way west through a mountain range across Wadi Sayq to a small fishing village. From there we loaded up fishing boats with lunch and lots of water. One-by-one the boats brought us in with the waves to land at Kharfot. A large group of camels seemed to know we were coming and greeted us on the sandy beach. We set up base amongst some date palms and furiously drank water in an effort to stay hydrated. It was extremely hot, and by the end of the day at least one person referred to it as “the sweatiest place on earth.” They’re probably not far off.

The beach landing

Coming in for a beach landing

Arriving at Kharfot

Leaving is a bit more exciting
Two local Omanis who helped with the fishing boats

Time seemed to fly by as we explored the area and tried to stay hydrated. We looked at the freshwater lagoon and year-round spring, stepped over unexcavated building ruins, and admired ancient cave paintings that haven’t been dated. We took in the area generally and marveled at how green and lush it is—a world away from the barren desert just a few miles inland. Most people decided to cool off in the ocean before we loaded up the boats to return. The tide was coming in and some of the boat departures through the waves got a little . . . exciting. We departed by sea, as Nephi did. Exhausted, sweaty, and tired, we returned to our bus and headed back to the comfort of the hotel, satisfied with a truly adventurous day and a fitting conclusion to the tour. While we may never know the exact location of Nephi’s Bountiful, Khor Kharfot is the most probable place—the only one that meets all 12 of Nephi’s criteria. 

A lagoon and prominent mountain at Kharfot, Bountiful candiate #3

We made our camp in the date palms

Exploring Kharfot

Ruins leading up to a large man-made structure that has not been excavated

Looking at the cave drawings

A boat
Possibly a tree

The group at Kharfot

The group at Kharfot

Camels on the beach

Fresh sardines

Returning back to Salalah

And enjoying the comfort of the hotel