Published: January 19th 2007January 15th 2007
View from the road
The views from the road to Sof Omar were spectacular in themselves! Photo by Liza and Rupert.
Liza and Rupert again took pity on me and took me out for the day to Sof Omar caves - a three hour drive from Robe. The drive itself was spectacular and took us through huge wheat fields before becoming more like you would imagine Africa to be, complete with acacia trees. Rupert used to be a farmer, so it was also educational for me … hopefully I will remember what he told us about grain production. There were a mix of small fields, presumably harvested by hand, and huge expanse with up to 6 combine harvesters.
We stopped for breakfast (eggs, bread and tea) in Goro and eventually wove our way down to the small village at the entrance to the caves. We negotiated a price (150 birr each - very expensive on a VSO allowance) for Abdul and Hussein to lead us into the depths, and headed down to the river, which was alive with children playing (mainly boys), women doing laundry, young men bathing and cattle drinking.
The caves, which are described in my guidebook as “thought to be among the largest underground caverns in the world”, were incredible. There were pillars to rival those in
Photo by Liza and Rupert.
a cathedral and the walk through them, by torchlight, involved wading through 7 lots of water. The first, which I admit I found scary, was wading, at waist height, against a very strong current and clinging onto the rock wall to avoid being swept into oblivion. We also had to edge across a raging chasm on two veritable twigs. Half way across, I was informed by one of our guides “it is very deep!” Thanks! But, the cost and the 'danger' were definitely worth it!
On return, through dry scrub, to the village, we went for a swim, much to the amusement of an audience of children. Rupert ably distracted them while Liza and I got dried on a rock.
Unfortunately, none of the 12 batteries I bought in Robe worked, but Liza and Rupert have given me copies of their photos, and said I could use them on my travel blog. I think the pictures do much more justice than the words I can find.
There are more photos below