Ethiopia is a country that is filled with beautiful landscapes that everyone admires once they visit the country and these can be seen in the Mountains and hills that are found in the country, the valleys and not forgetting the caves that are found in the country. The caving experience is one that you do not want to miss because of how they were formed, the history that surrounds all of them and all that they have to offer. There are majorly two caves that can be visited and explored in the country and all these have different things that they offer to the tourists and locals who visit the area. But besides the caves, you can also visit the areas surrounding the caves and below we are going to look at how a caving experience is one activity that you do not want to miss out when you visit Ethiopia since it is a new activity in Ethiopia.
There are a few things or requirements that you will need before venturing out into caving in Ethiopia and these include the following:
- Torches, you will a bright torch that will help you light your way through the caves.
- Hike boots, these will help you walk through the caves with ease and without slipping.
- Ropes, these will help you as you ascend down some of the caves that do not have their entrances on leveled ground.
The Sof-Omar caves
Ever been underground using various tunnels and not been afraid? The Sof-Omar caves offer you the best cave exploration experience in the country. The Sof-Omar caves are located next to the Bales Mountains and they are believed to be one of the best caves to visit in Ethiopia. It has the perfect underground tunnel system that tourists can explore before heading out to explore nearby laces next to the Sof-Omar caves.
The Sof-Omar caves also have a great legend attached to them and that is why many Muslims make a pilgrimage to them. Many believers say that Allah reveled himself to Sof Omar in the caves by opening up the limestone that is found in the caves and that is how Sof Omar and other fellow Muslims turned the caves into worshipping center and that is how they became sacred.
The Sof-Omar cave is the longest cave in Ethiopia going on for almost 15 kilometers and it is also the largest cave in Africa which means that it can be explored by a number of people at the same time. And while on a visit here you will also be able to see the Weib River which flows through the caves. The caves offer a good scenery to all those that visit them and they have a rich history that you will have to get to know when you visit the caves. The Sof Omar caves were named after the Muslim chief Sof Omar who was prominent when it came to evangelizing about the Muslim faith in Ethiopia and he lived in the area and that is why the cave were named after him. Every year Muslims make a pilgrimage to the caves to remember the prophet Mohammed.
The caves can easily be accessed through the village of Sof Omar because there is an entrance to the caves from the village but you need to go with a tour guide as you will not be able to access the caves without one. Once you get to the caves, you will be able to see gorges inside the caves created by the flowing River, the cave its self has created pillars inside which rise up to over twenty meters and you can marvel at these while inside the cave. Other things that you can marvel at when you get to the caves include:
- The chamber of columns is one thing that will make your day as you visit the caves and these were named after the lime stone that is found in the middle of the cave.
- The River is also another attraction that you will enjoy in the caves as you get to enjoy there after a long trek through the caves.
- The tiny rocks that were formed in the caves will also make your cave experience worthwhile.
The best time to visit the Sof Omar caves in Ethiopia is during the dry season because then you will also be able to easily access the caves without difficulty and there will be no floods to keep the cave entrance closed and the trek through the Sof Omar caves normally takes an hour before it is done. Visiting and exploring the Lake will also highly depend on the water levels of the
The Achare Anyage caves
The Achare Anyage caves are located within close vicinity of the Arba Gugu Mountain that is found in the North Eastern Part of the Country. The caves run for over seven kilometers and they take on second place when it comes to the cavern system that is found in Ethiopia. The caves have about sixteen entrances but only a few of these are used due to unavoidable circumstances and the best time to go caving in the Achare Anyage caves is during the dry season because then the paths that lead into the caves are clear of mud and floods.
After exploring the Achare Anyage caves, you can go rock climbing on the Achare Anyage caves but remember that you cannot go for all these activities without a tour guide and you will also need a permit that allows access to the caves.
The Porc Epic caves
The Porc Epic caves are located in the Dire Dawa region in Ethiopia and they are mostly known for their connection with some of the archeological findings that have been discovered in Ethiopia. The caves date back to over the Stone Age period which makes them a perfect destination for all those that love caving. As you go through the cave, you will be able to see numerous rock paintings that dates back to the earliest man, some small rudimentary tools that were used by the early man and other archeological findings that are found in the cave. The caving experience in the Porc Epic caves is a one in a million as you get to learn more about archeological findings and how the human nature has evolved since modernization has taken over the country and the trip to these caves is both educational and entertaining.
Once you are done with the caving experiences you can also visit the nearby villages where you will be able to see more than caves but meet up with the locals and learn more about their cultures, the skills that the locals portray and their unique settlements.
The Dire Dawa
The Dire Dawa is where the Porc epic caves are located and it is one of the best places that you can visit when the time is right and when you are done with visiting the archeological caves in the area. A few places that you can visit when you get to the Dire Dawa include the Kafira market where you will be able to go for shopping for all the traditional products from Ethiopia through the narrow lanes found in the market, the Dire Market that is also known as the Taiwan which sells most of the modern things mostly, the old palace which tells you more about the history of the Ethiopians and so many more other places which showcase the beauty of the country.
The Dire Dawa caving experience might be the top most activity that you will experience when you get there but other activities will also help you explore the country to the fullest and learn more about the caves, the excursions that take place and the city at large.
The Sof Omar city
The Sof-Omar city is where the City the Sof-Omar caves are located. There are many locals that live in the village where the famous Sof Omar sheik made the first stop when he came to Ethiopia. Through the village you will get to know that the caves have forty two entrances but only four of these can be accessed as others are a bit hard to get to.
When you visit the Sof Omar City you will also be able to visit the Bales National Park and the Bales National park. There are several activities that you can carry out when you visit the Bales region and some of these include:
Besides the known caves that are located in the country, many of the rock churches that were constructed in form of caves and visiting them will make you have the experience of visiting caves. Some of the cave churches are found in the regions of the Lalibela and Axum. These were constructed many years ago an no one knows exactly how old they are but they are worth visiting due to the cave experience that they give to tourists.