Al Hoota Cave

Top choice in Hajar Mountains

Al Hoota cave, situated at the southern side of Jabal Akdhar near Al-Hamra in Oman. It is an important yet fragile underground ecosystem with the presence of rare and endemic animal species.

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Embellished with stalactites and stalagmites, this is the only cave in Oman developed for tourism and it's something of a gem. Sensitively lit, this beautiful cave has running water and staircases leading to key features. A geological museum at the visitors centre is a must, showcasing features that have made Oman internationally renowned among geologists, including some magnificent mineral specimens.

A narrow-gauge railway runs into the cave, delivering visitors to a trailhead from where they walk the 850 meters (via staircases totalling 230 steps and an ascent of 65 meters) in a 45-minute loop back towards the entrance. Humidity is high (85%), but the cave is well lit.

All year round, water runs through Hoota Cave, providing a habitat for tiny blind cave fish. Unfortunately, the streams flood frequently, putting the whole cave out of action for months at a time. If this is the case, the museum, craft shop, climbing wall (500 baisa) and restaurant offer alternative attractions on the site. About 2km from the cave in the direction of Tanuf, at the point where the underground streams emerge into the sunlight, there's a shady natural park that makes a pleasant spot for a picnic.