Sof Omar Caves

Local Guide

Travel to Sof Omar Caves – Incredible Natural Feature of Breathtaking Beauty

Sof Omar is one of the world’s most spectacular and extensive underground systems, with echo chambers, soaring stone pillars and high arched yaults following the river’s course. The weib river, which sources from the Bale Mountains National Park, penetrates the cave year round, offering a magnificent view to the visitors.

At 15.1 kilometres long, Sof Omar Cave is the longest cave in Ethiopia and the largest system of caves in Africa, through which the Weib River flows. The cave’s name derives from the holy man Sheikh Sof Omar who took refuge in this hide-away, which has become an important Islamic Shrine. In fact, this religious centre is sacred to both local traditional religions and to Islam. The caves are known for their many pillars, particularly in the “Chamber of Columns”.

The cave is formed along a network of joints; one set runs approximately north to south and the other east to west. This zig-zag of passages runs in an approximate southeasterly direction. Sof Omar has 42 entrances but generally only four are useful for gaining entrance.

In the caves themselves you can see pillars of stone that are 66 feet high, buttresses, archways, and tall vaults as well as the main central hall which is dominated by limestone pillars. You may also spot bats, fish and crustaceans in the caves.

However, in the surrounding area you’ll find crocodiles, dik-dik, kudu, serval cat, rock hyrax, giant tortoises, snakes, lizards and more than fifty species of birds.

The main activity here is to take a guided tour of the caves or to explore the surrounding area.

Explore the surrounding area to spot all manner of wildlife and birds.

  • See the Chamber of Columns with its incredible limestone pillars.
  • Visit one of the most spectacular and extensive underground systems in the world.
  • Spot bats, fish and other wildlife.


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