NITN | @notintownlive | 08 Jul 2022, 11:24 am
Estimated to be over 2 million years old, the Al Hoota Cave is one of Oman’s most popular natural tourist attractions.
Located off route 21 between Nizwa and Bahla at the foot of Oman’s epic mountain Jabal Shams, just 2 hours drive from Muscat, it is the first and only cave in the Arabian Peninsula which is open to visitors. With a total length of around 4.5 kilometres, around 500 metres of the cave is accessible to the general public.
The one hour guided tour starts from the Visitor’s Centre with a short ride in an electric train that carries passengers up to the cave entrance. Once inside the cave, it’s a feast for the eyes as you walk on the pathway and witness an enormous subterranean cavern filled with stalactites, stalagmites and colourful solid rock columns.
Don’t miss the popular lion’s head, the cat, the old man and countless other intriguing shapes and an 800m long underground lake that is home to the rare blind fish – Garra Barreimiae and many other animal species like bats, arthropods, mollusks, spiders, snails and water beetles.
While the Al Hoota Cave is made of stone, it was created by water. Like many other caves in Oman, the Al Hoota Cave system was formed by the dissolution of limestone by acidic water.
When rainwater dissolves carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or soil, it produces a dilute carbonic acid that dissolves the limestone as it runs over it, thus forming the cave.
Every 100 years, the water dissolves through 10mm of rock – so it takes a long time to create something as spectacular as the Al Hoota Cave! Fascinating features such as stalagmites, stalactites and of course the magnificent lion of the cave are formed by mineral deposits as water drips into or moves through the cave system. Some of the columns and curtains you will see in the cave have been shaped over millions of years.
Post the tour; also visit the geological exhibition for an interesting insight into the geology of Oman and an in-depth study on how these caves were formed. Owing to its delicate ecosystem, a maximum of only 750 people are allowed to visit the caves on a day, hence it is ideal to do prior booking. The cave is open to visitors every Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 6pm.
You could combine your trip with a visit to Nizwa to experience the magnificent Fort and Friday market or see the traditional architecture of Al Hamra and the beautiful atmosphere of Misfit al Abryeen. You could stroll through Wadi Tanuf or do the rim walk at Jebel Shams before lunch at Al Hoota followed by an afternoon visit to the cave.
- Texas: Experience music like never before in Austin
- Unique aboriginal guided walks in Australia
- A Scenic Summer Adventure in Mammoth Lakes in California
- Snorkelling in Australian waters opens up an array of underwater treasures
- Ghana: Ever thought of visiting a traditional grove conservation site?
- 700 km hiking trail in Jordan is a multi-cultural treasure
- Reasons why you can choose Seychelles for holiday this year
- Oman’s true natural wonder is ‘Al Hoota Caves’
- 5 plus 1 reasons to fall in Love with Greece
- Australia: Top end attractions
Indian carrier IndiGo has announced exclusive flights between Bengaluru to Kolhapur, and connecting flights via Bengaluru from Coimbatore to Kolhapur, effective Jan 13, 2023.
Qantas, the national airline of Australia, created history on Sep 14 when QF 67 took off from Sydney’s Kingsford International Airport to touch Bengaluru, the southern Indian city famously known as ‘The Silicon Valley of The East’, completing the non-stop flight in less than twelve hours.
Bengaluru: Hong Kong’s home airline will start twice-a-week direct flights from Bengaluru to Hong Kong and beyond from Oct. 11.