Sof Omar Caves
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.
Erta ale is an exceptional volcano. It has been an active lava lake for a very long period, probably since the mid nineteenth century. It is part of a chain of active volcanoes located in the center of one of the six Afar rifts where an open ocean has formed in connection with a hot spot. The broad, 50-kilometer-wide volcano rises more than 600 meters from below sea level in the barren Danakil depression
Erta-Ale is the namesake and most prominent feature of the Erta-Ale Range. It has a 0.7 x 1.6 kilometers, elliptical summit crater housing steep-sided pit craters. Another larger 1.8 x 3.1 kilometer-wide depression elongated parallel to the trend of the Erta-Ale range is located to the southeast of the summit and is bounded by curvilinear fault scarps on the southeast side.
The natural beauty of Ethiopia amazes the first-time visitor. Ethiopia is a land of rugged mountains ( some 25 are over 4000 meters high) broad savannah, lakes and rivers. The unique Rift Valley is a remarkable region of volcanic lakes, with their famous collections of birdlife, great escarpments and stunning vistas. Tisisat, the blue Nile falls, must rank as one of the greatest natural spectacles in Africa today.
The Blue Nile is a river originating at Lake Tana in Ethiopia. With the White Nile, the river is one of the two major tributaries of the Nile. The upper reaches of the river is called the Abbay in Ethiopia, where it is considered holy by many, and is believed to be the River Gihon mentioned as flowing out of the Garden of Eden in Genesis . According to materials published by the Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency, the Blue Nile has a total length of 1,450 kilometres, of which 800 are inside Ethiopia.
Sof Omar Cave
Sof Omar, a tiny Muslim village in Bale, is the site of an amazing complex of natural caves, cut by the Weyb River as it found its way into the nearby mountains. The settlement, which is a religious site, is named after a local Sheikh. Visitors make their way-armed with torches and official maps underground, far into the bowels of the earth, beside a subterranean stream. There one can see an extraordinary number of arched portals, high, eroded ceilings and deep, echoing chambers.
Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia, is the source and from where the famed Blue Nile starts its long journey to Khartoum, and on to the Mediterranean. The 37 islands that are scattered about the surface of the lake shelter fascinating churches and monasteries. Some of which have histories dating back to the 13th century. A sail or cruise on Lake Tana is one of the most pleasant excursions for visitors to this region, particularly in the heart of the summer.