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Picture Book: The Kahf Al Tahry cave near Fins, Oman, February 2002.


Inside the Kahf Al Tahry cave near Fins, Oman. People for scale.

Two days ago I walked along a deep canyon in the mountains in Oman and spent the night in a pristine, huge cave. Last night I slept on the plane in a business class seat and tonight I did some step-aerobics in a posh fitness club. The contrast can’t be larger, from a 1001 nights Aladdin’s cave in the mountains of Oman to the western substitute of physical exercise inside.

The cave is part of a large system with the well-known Al Jin cave at some 12 km distance. Al Jin is the second biggest cave in the world, measuring about 500,000 cubic meters. Only the Mulu Cave on Borneo (Kalimatan) is bigger, with 2.5 mln cubic meters.

The cave is clearly visible from a distance of 500 meters as a big hole 20-30m across in a roughly 200 meter high rock face. The entrance is block by large boulders and you need some effort to enter, climbing across the big boulders.

Inside, the cave is roughly 20 meters wide, 30-40 meters high and the flat part is about 200 meters long with nice gravel and sandy part for camping. There is no water except for a few puddles with stagnant water further inside. Swimming and drinking the water is not recommended.

We made a fire inside the cave but dead wood is already sparse and you better not use the remaining bits and pieces. Dead wood is vital for insects to live and breed.

The sleeping is very comfortable on the level gravel and sand bars and the temperature at night was around 20-21 degrees Celsius. There were no mosquitoes or other biting insects at night.

The cave is part of a tunnel system of roughly 16 km and there is a passable route of about 2 km starting from the other side, see The Funnel Cave sink on the map. We walked inside the cave starting at the end (down stream) and knew we would be stopped halfway. We crossed numerous big boulders and the walking is not easy but never treacherous involving climbing over or crawling underneath 2-3 meter high boulders. One fixed iron rope ladder helped us to cross a 4 m high wall.

After roughly 45 minutes and 1 km we came to a vertical wall with a hanging static rope. Here we stopped. Normally you should come from the other side and its seems that you need 200 m static rope to make it through the in total 2 km tunnel system starting at the ‘The Funnel cave".

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