Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Al Hoota Cave (OMAN) is a Largest Cave System in the World..

I visited the  Oman  Al Hoota Caves on April 2007 with my Brother and his colleques, The whole place is well maintained and the staff were helpful with details, But to our disappointment the train service was not available due to maintenance work. So had to walk along the track, but that too was enjoyable. Inside it was a new world and one can see and amaze at the rock formations, as imaginations go wild, we can compare the shapes with humans and some really look like  statues too. There is a small lake with blind fish. The same fish with eyes are at display at the museum, Good parking facilities and a restaurant is open there. But we had our food parceled from  Nizwa city.
Please go through this article..
Al Hoota cave, one the biggest cave systems in the whole world, is situated at the foot of Jebel Shams, the highest mountain in Oman. Jebel Shams (the Sun Mountain) is the highest mountain in Oman which is situated on the north of Al Hamra, a town in the north-eastern Oman. Al Hoota cave is the best example of how rock dissolves under water and how water sculpts rock and it is a story of two million years. Al Hoota is easily accessible and it takes only two hours drive from Muscat to reach the cave.
It is said that till 50 years ago, the existence of the cave was unknown. According to the CEO of Promo Oman, Ahmad M. Sabra, the cave was accidentally discovered in 1960 by a dweller from the Hoota Village. Promo Oman is the company that manages and markets Al Hoota Cave. While a shepherd was grazing his goats, one of his goats disappeared. The goat fell through the natural opening of the cave and while searching for his goat, the shepherd discovered the cave. From then on, for adventure spelunkers, the top of the mountain became an access point and they lowered themselves inside the cave with ropes.  Now tourists can enjoy a guided tour through the Al Fallah entrance. Al Hoota cave attracts tourists from all over the world.
Al Hoota cave is the only show cave in the Gulf area that is accessible to the public. The cave was officially opened to the tourists in November 2006 during the 17th National Day of Oman. Elevated walkways, lightings, concrete, steel stairs and bridges were all set up before opening the cave to visitors. Though the total length of the cave is about 4.5 Km, only 500 m is opened to the public. Tour inside the cave will take about one hour, that too with experienced guides who will explain the story, history and the formation of the cave. Visitors are not expected to get off the elevated path and come into contact with the cave floor. The cave is home to more than 100 animal species including bats, arthropods, big hunter spiders, mollusks, snails and other rare endemic species.

There are two lakes in the cave, a small northern cave and a central lake. The underground lake in the cave can hold 30,000 cubic meters of water. The main lake in the cave is about 800 meters long and ten meters wide with a maximum depth of 15 meters. Even in this lake, where there has never been sunlight, lives a blind fish called Garra Barreimiae which has little use of eyes or pigment.

The lighting system in the cave is waterproof and could be operated by using remote control devices. Feature lights are positioned at each viewing platform to illustrate cave decorations and the speleothems in the immediate area. Closed circuit TV cameras are positioned throughout the cave for security and safety reasons.
There is a train service at Al Hoota cave. 
The first and the only train service in Oman takes tourists from the visitor’s centre to the main entrance of the cave. The journey takes about five minutes. The train is manufactured in the UK and it has a seating capacity of 48 passengers. The train makes at least 32 trips a day.

Due to scientific reasons, the number of tourists permitted to visit the cave per day is limited to 750 and as such making reservation has become essential. Visitors are advised to be present 15 minutes before the start of the tour as they have to collect their tickets. Visitors are also advised to note the following tips. They are not expected to eat, drink or smoke once they are inside the cave. Cameras and videos are not permitted. There are 225 ascending stairs and visitors have to walk for about 45 minutes. Kindly co-operate with the guides and leave nothing but your footsteps and take nothing but sweet memories.
I couldn't forget the event i  have enjoyed  whole day with my brother and his colleques. Finally, an Omani woman who doesn’t object to having her photo taken with me. Ha! ha!

Prepared & Collection by : M.Ajmal Khan.

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