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Jabal Akhdar caves: Subterranean wonders boost ecotourism

29 Nov 2023 Khaslat Safi Sahraa cave By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – Renowned for its lush green mountains, Jabal Akhdar also has some of Oman’s most captivating underground marvels.

The region, now documented to have 18 caves thanks to the efforts of Omani Caves Exploration Team (OCET), presents a new realm of subterranean beauty with Khaslat Safi Sahraa being the latest addition.

This easily accessible cave is poised to become a key tourist attraction, according to Nabil bin Salam bin Khalfan al Saqri, a member of OCET.

Formed by sedimentation of limestone dating back to the Cretaceous period, the 15m-deep cave boasts of remarkable stalagmite and stalactite formations.

Saqri noted that Jabal Akhdar’s diverse tourism offerings are increasingly popular among visitors, both domestic and international. The caves, alongside mountain hiking trails and rappelling cliffs, have boosted the wilayat’s appeal for adventure tourism.

Established in 2016, OCET is the first Omani volunteer group dedicated to cave exploration and documentation. It has mapped over a hundred caves in Oman, contributing significantly to the field of geological research.

Khaslat Safi Sahraa cave in Jabal Akhdar

Saqri informed that the team’s publication – A Guide to the Caves of Oman – is a scientific resource for researchers and cave enthusiasts. The guide details location of caves, access routes and difficulty level of exploring each, promoting these as tourist destinations for both scientific and recreational purposes.

Jabal Akhdar has several stunning caves, including Hail al Diyar, Khasla al Saqf, Khasla al Ruwais and Amer Cave, each with unique historical and geological significance. “These caves served different purposes for the mountain inhabitants, as dwellings and animal shelters to access points for groundwater and for mining,” Saqri said.

Documentation and exploration of these caves not only open doors for adventure tourism but also connect the present with the historical and cultural past of Oman, Saqri noted.

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