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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Joanna James Joanna James
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Fun Facts to Learn about the Al Hoote Cave – Diving into Oman's Underground Labyrinth

Oman is famous for its abundance of eerie yet spectacular caves and the growing number of visitors to the caves are an indication of how popular they are. Here are a couple of fun facts to get going.


The cave was opened only recently

The Al Hoote Cave was closed for long periods of time and have been opened only recently. The cave was closed back in 2012 due to excessive flood that made going down to the caves quite a risky affair. The caves have been discovered hundreds of years ago – which is another story we'll cover below – and are estimated to be over two million years old. According to geologists, it was formed during the times when the country was a much greener area. The rainwater dissolved carbon dioxide present which caused the presence of carbonic acid that seeped into the rocks and eroded them into massive caves.


It's the only cave which has guided tours

Out of the numerous caves found scattered all over Oman, the Al Hoote Cave is the only one that provides guided tours. Most of the hotels in Jabal Akhdar, the likes of Alila Jabal Akhdar Oman. A tour of the area takes around forty-five minutes and gives visitors a small glimpse of the place.


The sheer length of the cave

Did you know that the cave stretches on for around four and a half kilometres? The sad news is that only about five hundred meters of the cave are open to the public. There is a paved path that takes visitors through two chambers and is quite an easy walk to make. The first cavern is around one hundred and fifty meters in length and contains an underground lake. Stalagmites and stalactites crowd around the edges of the cave and are lit by soft orange lights that cast eerie shadows to the rest of the cave and its ceiling.


The other inhabitants of the cave

While it's easy to forget, the cave is a budding ecosystem that hides plenty of other animal species, both land, and water. Mouse-tailed bats haunt the area adding to the mystic of the cave while water beetles, snails, the hunting spider and the Garra Barreimiae, a blind fish species are all present inside the cave.


The folklore surrounding the discovery of the cave

The myth says that a goatherd lost his goats and wandered the mountain looking for his herd. It was then that he stumbled on to the cave and its discovery was published in 1960. The officials consider this the true story of how it was discovered too.


The intriguing history of the cave

The caves have been used as escape routes by the locals around during times of trouble. It is said to have multiple openings all over the countryside. Men are known to enter the caves, swim through almost nine hundred and fifty meters to reach the other side and scramble over rocks to reach the other openings.