Sof Umar caves
The cave is one of the world’s biggest and Africa’s largest cave. This marvelous underground world is located in Dawe Qachan District of Balé Zone at a distance of 110m from the Zone’s capital Robé and 40 kilometers from the nearest town Goro. The cave’s area which is typically characterized by flat topography and a deep gorge cut by river Web which forms the cave, and in particular the Ayyo-Mako cliff gate of river entrance is the right spot where visitors start cave expedition while the Hulluqa is the resurgence of both visitors and the river from the cave;
The beauty of the cave comes from the untouched and savage aspects of the huge main passages, the very special shape of the sections of the galleries, the white color of the lime stones and basalt that form the walls, the great number of entrances, the bewitching noise of the river, labyrinthine morphology of the galleries network and the presence of the many bats, etc;
The 42 internal entrances and its total passages distance of 15.6 kilometers its 1.2 kilometers tourist route, which crosses the river seven times and takes visitors about two hour’s walking.
Sof Umar cave is a reputed historical Islamic heritage dedicated to the Sufist Sheikh Safiy Ullah Umar (abbreviated as “Sof Umar”) from whom the name of the cave is originated. The Sheikh is said to be the nephew as well as the disciple of Sheikh Husein. He lived and worshiped Allah in the cave and taught Islam to his followers many centuries ago.
The cave thus is one of the venerated monuments of religious history that predate the arrival of Islam in Bale. The present cultural practice of offering prayers and sacrifices by the pilgrim twice a year to celebrate events of religious ceremony gives opportunity to experience history and culture.