Main attractions in Ethiopia

Sof Omar Cave

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Sof Omar is a small muslim village in Bale Ethiopia. Sof Omar cave being one of the most spectacular and extensive underground cave systems in the world. Formed by the Wabi River as it changed its course in the distant past and carved out a new channel through limestone foothills, the Sof Omar systems is an extraordinary natural phenomenon of breathtaking beauty.


The cave which is now an important Islamic Shrine was named after the saintly Sheikh Sof Omar who took refuge here many centuries ago. The cave has a religious history that predates the arrival of the Muslims in Bale – a history calculated in thousands of years.


At 15.1 kilometres (9.4 mi) long, Sof Omar Cave is the longest cave in Ethiopia; sources claim it is the longest system of caves in Africa and ranks as the 306th longest in the World. It is situated in the Bale province in southeastern Ethiopia (6°55′N 40°45′E / 6.917°N 40.75°E / 6.917; 40.75) through which the Weyib River (Gestro River) flows. It sinks at the Ayiew Maco entrance and reappears at the Holuca resurgence 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) away. Long a religious centre, it is sacred both to local Traditional religions and to Islam. The caves are known for their many pillars, particularly in the "Chamber of Columns".