Post by: Dahan
Spelunking: the hobby or practice of exploring caves.
Aside from admiring their beauty, one of the simpler joys of visiting caves is feeling their chilly interior. In the summer especially, entering the cool darkness from a burning hot exterior is a paramount experience. Many caves also possess historical and cultural value.
In Egypt there are three notable caves worth visiting:
10km south of Beni Suef, this cave was accidentally discovered in the 1980s when quarrymen looking for gold blasted open its entrance. A unique combination of limestone covered with a cast of alabaster, the cavern’s peculiar geology and gorgeous formations brought it protected status in 1992.
Stretching 700m long and spanning 15m at its widest point, Sannur Cave offers a brilliant tour through Egyptian nature.
St. Anthony’s Cave
Because it’s only two hours away, Ain Sokhna is the perfect spot for Cairenes looking to relax by the sea.
But while you’re there, don’t forget to visit St. Anthony’s Cave. As the story goes, he devoted his life to Christ aged 34 and frequented the cave to meditate for 40 years. First visit his Monastery and then one of the monks will guide you in the direction of his cave.
At 680m above sea level, reaching the cave will have you climbing 1,200 steps and entering a dark narrow break that leads to a 7m wide chasm, decorated in ode to its most faithful visitor.
The Cave Of Swimmers
In the south west of Egypt, tucked away in Wadi Sura in the mountainous region of Gilf Kebir, you’ll find the remote Cave of Swimmers.
8,000 years ago, Neolithic Egyptians witnessed the Earth transition from an ice age to the world we know today. In a wetter world, swimming was an inevitable skill for the survival of our species.
The Neolithic man felt compelled to draw his new hobby on the walls of his home. The artistic efforts gave the cave its title when it was discovered by Hungarian explorer László Almásy in 1933. A fictitious Almásy portrayed by Ralph Fiennes was shown finding the caves in the Oscar winning movie “The English Patient”.
The Cave of Swimmers is the hardest to reach in Egypt since Gilf Kebir is a harsh, relatively inaccessible region of the Sahara Desert. But the expedition is highly worth the hassle because the region also includes two other caves with ancient wall art, El-Mestikawi and Mogharat El Kantara, known to English speakers as Shaw’s cave. Of all the destinations, Gilf Kebir is not to be missed by the serious spelunker!