Информация по пещерам острова Сокотра, Йемен


Остров Сокотра постоянно исследуется бельгийскими спелеологами в рамках проекта Soqotra Karst Project (Yemen). Ниже приведенные описания пещер соответствуют экспедициям за 2000-2004 годы. Были экспедиции и позже, но подробной информации о них у меня нет. Что-то можно прочесть на сайте исследователей www.speleo.be/soqotra. Именами SKP1-6 в тексте обозначены команды исследователей. Авторы текста: Peter De Geest, Kay Van Damme, Jos Beyens, Lieven Vernaeve, Ilse Bessems, Dirk Roelandt,Eric Claes, Rik Martens.


Explored Caves








7,500 m*

-84 m



395 m


3,112 m*

+85 m



335 m


1,789 m*

-145 m



480 m


1,662 m

-90 m





1,615 m

-6/+37 m



250 m


1,190 m

-50 m



542 m


869 m

-79 m



970 m


700 m

-47 m



508 m


509 m

-109 m



525 m


454 m

-44 m



878 m


400 m

-100 m



624 m


390 m

+98 m



350 m


376 m*

-49 m



365 m


357 m

-19 m



110 m


355 m

-15 m



588 m


326 m

-7 m



10 m


279 m

+14 m



130 m


143 m

+7 m



300 m


125 m

-18 m



345 m


118 m

-84 m



683 m


91 m

-59 m



307 m


90 m

-40 m



964 m


79 m

-26 m



404 m


60 m

-37 m



655 m


40 m




707 m


35 m

-3 m



65 m


23 m

-23 m



445 m

BAT CAVE 20 m +1 m 12°30'23,3" 053°33'27,4" 173 m
TOTAL: 22,707 m        


Giniba Cave

Shebehan plateau, Libeneno village. N 12°26'01,3" - E 053°56'11,5”, alt. 395 m. Length: 7,500 m. Vertical range:-84 m.

Giniba Cave was surveyed by SKP1, 3 and 5 to its current length of 7.5 km. It is the longest cave known to date on Soqotra. Giniba is an active sinkhole during the wet season. A temporary sump in the cave approximately 450 m from the entrance may then be filled with water. The cave consists of a large single horizontal gallery with minor side extensions, which widens to several large chambers (Entrance Hall, The Dark Room, The White Promise, VIP Hall and Leen's Room). The galleries and chambers near the cave's entrance collect significant soil and organic material which washes in during the monsoon season. 1.5 km from the cave entrance one reaches an impressive 6 m deep waterfall. The water emerges from the right hand side of the passage between rocks and immediately disappears again between boulders at the bottom of the fall. A 5 m long rope ladder and a 10 m long lifeline are required here. Immediately after the above-mentioned temporary sump, the main gallery becomes aquatic. Long and deep lakes that require serious swimming are intersected by dry passages. Finally, an active subterranean river can be followed until a sump is reached where a cave dive is planned. The resurgence of the cave river is not yet known . Giniba Cave is home to a new troglobitic Whip Spider (Amblypygi) without eyes, named Charinus stygochtobius (see chapter 6).


Hoq Cave

N 12°35'11,9" - E 054°21 '05,7", alt. 335 m. Length: 3,112 m. Vertical range +85 m.

Explored during SKP1, 3 and 5. Hoq Cave is situated on a karst plateau at the NE coast of Soqotra. The cave consists of an enormous horizontal main gallery (up to 100m wide and 30 m high) with two side passages. The main passage has a wealth of various types of calcite decorations. Finally, the gallery decreases in size and ends in calcite formations after which no further progression is possible. Hoq Cave is supposedly a fossil resurgence. During the dry season there is some dripping water. The cave becomes more active in the wet season, just after the Monsoon rains. Important archaeological finds were made in Hoq Cave (see chapter 7). The cave might be suitable for eco-tourism after proper planning and management. A footpath was marked in the cave and the local authorities have appointed a cave guide, trained by the SKP. Hoq Cave harbours several cave-dwelling crustaceans unique to the cave, such as Paradoniscus degeesti and Serendibia filiform is.


Pit Cave

Shebehan plateau. N 12°25'23,1" - E 053°58'41,6", alt. 480 m. Length: 1,789 m. Vertical range:-145 m.

Pit Cave was explored during SKP1. It is the deepest cave known to date on Soqotra Island, although the whole cave - and especially its deepest sections -  has not yet been fully mapped. Access is via the wide southern entrance pit that offers a 60 m free hanging descent. Full SRT equipment is required. The entrance shaft leads into a junction room where three passages continue more or less sloping downwards. No climbing tackle is needed for the rest of the known cave. The continuation to the North leads via a high chamber  ("Dark Room"),  towards  another huge daylight shaft ("North Entrance Pit") rich with calcite decorations. The continuation to the South ("Gallery Lieve") begins with nice columns and stals but ends after 200 m in a boulder choke that was not pushed to the end. The main continuation ("Gallery Hilde") leads towards the West. The spacious passage is nicely decorated (e.g. rimstone pools and cave pearls) and contains some small ponds fed by dripping water. Apart from that, Pit Cave is a completely dry fossil cave. The cave has several side passages that were not surveyed. Furthermore, the last 250 m of "Gallery Hilde" - that lead to the deepest point of the cave at -145 m - were also not surveyed. Pit Cave will be extended during future SKP expeditions.


Dilgaghai Cave

Momi plateau, co-ordinates lost. Length: 1,662 m. Vertical range:-90 m.

Explored during SKP3. The entrance to Dilgaghai Cave is located at the edge of a large plain. A 30 m deep entrance pit leads into a large but flat chamber (40 m wide, 3 m high). At the SE end of the chamber another series of shafts (8 m and 21 m) continue downwards and are subsequently followed by a nice small phreatic tube that again comes to several smaller shafts (7 m, 4 m, 4 m) leading down. From here, the cave environment begins to get aquatic with several pools. A subsequent 6 m drop leads to the permanently water-filled cave sections that require continuous swimming to the end sump. About 200 m from the 6 m drop, a tributary inlet joins the main collector from the right. This smaller passage can be followed for several hundred meters and was not pushed to its end as it gradually becomes too narrow. Dilgaghai Cave is a sinkhole during the wet season when the complete lower section of the cave may occasionally be submerged. The water flows very slowly towards the end sump in the dry season. Full SRT gear is required for the entrance section of Dilgaghai Cave. The wet passages are often too deep for walking and for less experienced swimmers a life vest is recommended.


Erher Cave

NE Coastal cliffs, N 12°33'00,5" - E 054°27'35,6", alt. 250 m. Length: 1,615 m. Vertical range: 43 m (-6/+37 m).

Erher Cave was explored during SKP3 and 5. The entrance is situated at the top of a large 250m high sand dune with a beautiful wadi in between two dunes. The wadi is responsible for the only green vegetation in the whole area. Erher Cave is a resurgence cave. The entrance can easily be detected by following black water pipes that were installed by the locals when the water resources of Erher Cave became known. Today the cave provides several villages along the East coast of Soqotra with drinking water supplies for approx. 600 people. The 10 m high and 40 m wide entrance provides access to a large horizontal passage that heads towards the west. About 260 m from the entrance a large side passage branches off to the south. This passage leads to an impressive 12 m high waterfall that disappears into the "The Whirlpool", which does not overflow with water during the dry season. The side passage continues on top of the waterfall and ends at a sump where the water for the villages is captured. After following the main passage and crossing some water pools, a 6 m deep climb is reached about 0.5 km from the entrance. A superb lake is located below the climb. There is a smaller passage that soon ends at a sump. The sump was dived but an underwater restriction halts further exploration. The main continuation of the principal cave passage opens on top of the lake and can be accessed by a 15 m long vertical climb, which requires full SRT gear. The climb gives access to a higher level with the main gallery continuing towards the southwest before ending at another sump. This whole section is filled with deep water and can only be explored by swimming.


Casecas Cave

Momi plateau, N 12°33'20,0"  E 054°18'33,3", alt. 542 m. Length: 1,190 m. Vertical range: -50 m.

Explored during SKP2 and 3. Casecas Cave has a large fossil gallery that is intersected by a spacious chamber. Some short side passages branch off from the chamber. The main passage and the chamber are very well decorated by massive concretions. Although the whole cave can be visited with­out vertical equipment some climbs are potentially dangerous for non-experienced cavers. The main passage contains some small pools in the dry season. The lower main gallery east of the large chamber contains an active stream during the monsoon season. The floor and the walls of this section often have a thin mud cover. A non-diveable sump marks the end of Casecas Cave. In front of the cave entrance one can climb down between clean-washed white boulders to reach a short series of lakes. These were dived without a major continuation and very poor visibility due to the amount of organic matter. Casecas Cave is a sink during the wet season with a small riverbed draining the surface water into the small boulder avens near the cave's main entrance. The stream leads towards the end sump of the principal gallery.


Digeilei - Hata Cave

Shebehan plateau, N 12°30'31,0" - E 053°56'19,0", alt. 970 m. Length: 869 m. Vertical range: -79 m.

Explored during SKP5. The cave system consists of two downwards sloping entrances which require a few short ropes and SRT gear to descend. Both entrances lead down to a NE-SW directed main passage that has several side galleries. A 6 m deep pit was not descended during the exploration. A high chamber at the SW end is the deepest section of the cave system ("Exposure Room") and is suspected to be an ancient swallow hole. Today, the whole cave is fossilized and contains a large amount of dry bat guano. Face-masks are recommended due to the possible threat of histoplasmosis. All passages of Digeilei-Hata Cave are nicely decorated with old calcite formations.


Disdaide Cave

Momi plateau, N 12° 33'00,1" - E 054°19'92,4", alt. 508 m. Length: 700 m. Vertical range: -47 m.

Explored during SKP3 and 5. The  sloping entrance rift can be climbed without vertical equipment and provides access to a chamber on the right. SRT gear is needed to negotiate a vertical descent which begins between boulders in this chamber. This leads down to a wide but low gallery which is intersected by more narrow sequences and leads to a sump. Another passage of similar type can be followed from the end of the entrance chamber towards the Southeast. Several squeezes were enlarged during the exploration of Disdaide Cave. Behind this narrow series the main gallery becomes more spacious and branches with all leads ending sooner or later in short shafts that finally provide access to sumps. Several short ropes and SRT gear are required to visit the entire cave. Disdaide Cave has several distinctive levels. During the monsoon season the entrance area acts as a sinkhole. The water from Disdaide Cave is supposed to flow towards Dilgaghai.  This needs to be proven by dye tracing.


Gudum Cave

Mahlez plateau, N 12° 38'41,1" - E 053°26'07,6", alt. 525 m. Length: 509 m. Vertical range: -109 m.

Explored during SKP5. A 75 m deep entrance shaft provides access to a wet section, where three more shafts of about 20 m each lead down to sumps; to a dry section that consists of a succession of boulder-filled rooms; and to a subsequent passage that steeply leads down to a dead end room at -109 m depth with a pool. The entrance shafts require complete SRT equipment. However, we witnessed a local Soqotri who free-climbed this shaft with a torch in his mouth to get water from the cave lakes. We couldn't believe what we saw!!! Gudum Cave is an important sinkhole during the monsoon rainy season.


Dilhailhe Cave

Mahlez plateau, N 12° 29'55,4" - E 053°56'44,7", alt. 878 m. Length: 454 m. Vertical range: -44 m.

Explored during SKP5. The shallow entrance doline immediately leads into an immense chamber ("1,000 Rial Chamber") with beautiful decoration. Most of the calcite formations are very old and dry. On the opposite side of the chamber one can follow a large passage for another 150 m before the gallery becomes too small. A large colony of bats (Rhinopoma hardwickii) inhabits the cave. Dilhailhe Cave is supposedly an old sinkhole. During the monsoon rainy season some minor waterflows enter the cave which can be seen from the cave sediments. The cave can be visited without special equipment.


Fosreher Cave

Mahlez plateau, N 12° 37'41,1" - E 053°30'42,4", alt. 624 m. Length: 400 m. Vertical range: -100 m.

Explored during SKP5. To reach Fosreher Cave it is necessary to walk about 1.5 hours from the nearest 4WD track. Access is gained via a large and nice canyon gorge that leads to the entrance of the cave in a vertical pit. The shaft is 85 m deep and is intersected by several steps. Full SRT equipment is required for descending. Ropes can be fixed on natural anchor points. At the foot of the series of entrance shafts, a wide but low gallery heads towards the SW but soon turns to the NW ("Tofiluk Gallery"). Right after the turn one can see a 50 m long shallow lake with a slow water flow. Behind the lake a pile of rocks provides evidence of huge amounts of water pushing these boulders up. Tofiluk Gallery ends in a large sump that probably can be passed when the water level is low. Fosreher Cave is an active sinkhole during the monsoon rainy season. The women from the surrounding villages risk their lives to descend the entrance shaft in the dry season to fetch water.


Erher Central Cave

Momi plateau, N 12° 33'00,5" - E 054°27'35,6", alt. approx. 350 m. Length: 390 m. Vertical range: +98 m.

Explored during SKP5. The entrance to Erher Central Cave is situated in the middle between Erher Cave (see above) and Erher Top Cave, which has not yet been explored. All these caves are situated in a high cliff close to the northeast coast of Soqotra. Access to Erher Central requires some climbing in a narrow vertical rift that may require a lifeline for less experienced explorers. No other climbing gear is needed for the rest of the cave. The enormous  entrance closes down to a small opening that fortunately provides access to a roomy gallery heading southwest. The floor is covered with large boulders and significant dry bat guano. Bat skeletons are scattered on the ground. Immediately before the cave ends, a large room full of boulders is found. The walls of the chamber are covered with helictites. The cave is totally fossil.


Difshelei Cave

Shebehan plateau, Tsjeetaf. N 12°24'40,4" -E 054°04'38,6", alt. 365 m. Length: 376 m. Vertical range:-49 m.

Difshelei Cave was explored during SKP6. It has the potential to become one of the longest and deepest caves of Soqotra Island. Exploration was halted in a large room due to time constraints. Access to the cave is gained via a large doline that serves as an active sink during the monsoon rainy season. Inside the cave several water pools, gours and wet formations were found. From the doline a huge gallery (up to 35 m wide) leads in a southerly direction. Calcite formations are abundant. Exploration was halted in 2004 in a large chamber with breakdown and massive boulders. Some smaller side passages remained unexplored. No climbing gear is needed for the known parts to date.


Taiti's Cave

Mahlez plateau, N12° 36'57,4" - E 053°57'24,4", alt. 110 m. Length: 357 m. Vertical range: -19 m.

Explored during SKP3. The small entrance provides access to a narrow passage that leads down to the main passage which averages 8 by 8 m. This passage is completely fossilized and dry. The main passage has no significant side leads but branches at its eastern and western end. At the latter end three distinctive cave levels are developed, the lowest of which has some bad air. The cave is suspected to be an ancient shortcut passage between the loops of an inaccessible underground drainage course. Tai'ti's Cave hosts a large bat colony (Rhinopoma hardwickii). The air is full of dry dust from the bat droppings and a face mask is highly recommended. Other than that, no special equipment is needed to explore the cave.


Dahaisi Cave

Momi plateau, N 12° 34'03,1" - E 054° 17'21,5", alt. 588 m. Length: 355 m. Vertical range: -15 m.

Explored during SKP2 and 3. Dahaisi Cave has a large entrance (5 m high and 10m wide) that serves as a sinkhole during the monsoon rainy season and leads to a passage of the same size heading in an easterly direction. The main passage is dry and has some huge columns and stalagmites. It ends at a vertical sump. About 40 meters from the entrance a side passage branches off to the right with the upper part forming a chamber without continuation and the lower part consisting of a long but narrow conduit ("Torture Gallery") that also leads towards the east. Apparently this lower passage drains a stream during the wet season. The end of Torture Gallery is a small chamber filled with boulders. However, an air current indicates a possible continuation. No climbing gear is required for Dahaisi Cave. The sump was dived during SKP4, but after 12m the passage was blocked by large boulders. Visibility is poor due to the presence of large amounts of organic material.


Afur Nuetet Cave

Mahlez plateau, N 12° 39'53,5" - E 053°41 '19,1", alt. approx. 10 m. Length: 326 m. Vertical range: -7m.

Explored during SKP5. The cave entrance is situated in a doline about 2 km from the northern sea shore. Afur Nuetet consists of a single cave passage filled with brackish water and stinking mud. This passage trends towards the sea but no connection to the sea water was found during the exploration. There is probably an impenetrable hydrological connection existing.


Dejub Cave

Shebehan plateau, N 12°23'04,4" E 054°00'56,7", alt. 130 m. Length: 279 m. Vertical range: +14 m.

Explored during SKP4 and 6. The cave is actually a huge rock shelter that consists of a main daylight chamber with a large sand and "goat dropping" dune and a short side passage that leads to the NE. The large entrance of Dejub Cave is visible from afar. There are many large dripstone formations and a number of huge columns one of which is tilted to the side. The local Soqotri use Dejub Cave as a shelter for cattle during some periods of the year. Man-made rock walls were constructed in the cave. Dripping water is collected in hollowed rocks. Dejub Cave is supposedly an old resurgence that later filled with sand.


Hardwicki Cave

Mahlez plateau, N 12°34'23,5" - E 053°55'20,6", alt. 300 m. Length: 143 m. Vertical range: +7 m.

Explored during SKP5. The cave entrance is situated in a vertical rock wall and is difficult to reach. The entrance provides access to a succession of corridors and rooms at both sides from the entrance. Hardwicki Cave is thought to have been a former resurgence. The cave is totally dry today. A large population of long-tailed bats (Rhinopoma hardwickii) inhabits the cave - most likely one of the largest colonies that has ever been noted on Soqotra. No ropes are required to visit Hardwicki Cave.


Afur Nabhor 2

Shebehan plateau N12° 24'12,1" - E054°06'41,1", alt. 345 m. Length: 125 m. Vertical range:-18 m.

Afur Nabhor 2 was explored during SKP3. The smoothly descending entrance passage is wide and leads to an even wider main passage that trends in an easterly direction. At the end of the main passage one has to climb up to the left hand side in order to reach a smaller continuation which can be followed for another 30 meters before it becomes too small. Afur Nabhor 2 is probably an old sink. The whole cave is now dry. No climbing gear required.


Halan Cave

Shebehan plateau, N 12°27'18,0" - E 053°55'59,5", alt. 683 m. Length: 118 m. Vertical range: -84 m.

Explored during SKP5. The entrance to Halan Cave is a 70 m deep vertical shaft that requires full SRT gear. The pit leads to a short gallery with a few calcite formations. The cave has no water or other special features.


Afur Nabhor 1

Shebehan plateau, N 12°25'18,8" - E 054°06'38,1", alt. 307 m. Length: 91 m. Vertical range: -59 m.

Afur Nabhor 1 was explored during SKP5. An impressive doline leads to a 16 m deep vertical shaft. From the bottom of the shaft several smaller vertical pitches continue down. At the end point (-59 m) the cave becomes too small. Complete SRT equipment is required - the rope can be fixed at natural re-belays. There is no water in Afur Nabhor 1.


Degopahir Cave

Mahlez plateau, N 12° 30'23,0" - E 053°56'12,0", alt. 964 m. Length: 90 m. Vertical range: -40 m.

Explored during SKP5. The impressive entrance pit is decorated with large tree roots officus vista. The pit ends in a chamber with many boulders. All side passages quickly terminate. The cave is totally dry. Full SRT equipment is necessary.


Iron Pole Cave

SW coastal area, N12°26'11,8" – E 053°29'53,2", alt, 404m. Length: 79 m. Vertical range: -26 m.

Explored during SKP3. The entrance to the cave is a collapsed roof of a large underground chamber (45 m wide, 70 m long and 18 rn high). This provides a nice 18m free hanging SRT descent to the bottom of the room. One must pay attention not to disturb the large bee nest on the southern wall. There are no further side passages. Some beautiful fossil formations are present. Iron Pole Cave is dry and only has dripping water during the wet season.


Dileuti Cave

Shebehan plateau, N12° 28'01,6" - E053°59'12,8", alt. 655m. Length: 60 m. Vertical range: -37 m.

Explored during SKP3. The large 12 m deep entrance shaft has vegetation which grows in the big open air chamber beneath. From this chamber a passage leads down but soon ends. Some fossil skulls were observed. Dileuti Cave has many nice formations. Except for dripping water, the cave is entirely dry. Only the entrance shaft requires SRT gear.


Dihapak Cave

Shebehan plateau, N 12° 28'36,3" - E 053°58'50,7", alt. 707 m. Length: 40 m. Vertical range: -19 m.

Explored during SKP5. The entrance drop of the cave can be climbed without SRT equipment. A tree grows on the debris pile at the bottom of the small shaft. From here the cave descends to the deepest point where it finally ends. No special equipment necessary. Dihapak Cave is entirely dry.


Dihavrhan Cave

Shebehan plateau, N12°24'55,5" – E 054°07'40,7", alt. 65 m. Length: 35 m. Vertical range: -3 m.

Explored during SKP5. The entrance of Dihavrhan Cave is situated right near a trail at the bottom of a gorge. All continuations to the north and to the east become too small after about 20 m. The cave is dry. It is most likely an old sinkhole.


Dahferhen Cave

Momi plateau, N 12° 28'12,2" - E 054°13'13,8", alt. 445 m. Length: 23 m. Vertical range: -23 m.

Explored during SKP5. Dahferhen Cave is a 23 m deep pothole without any further passage. SRT gear required. No water is found inside.


Bat Cave

Mahlez plateau, N 12° 30'23,3" - E 053°33'27,4", alt. aprox. 173 m. Length: 20 m. Vertical range: +1 m.

Explored during SKP1. The small cave hosts long-tailed (Rhinopoma hardwickii) bats. Bat Cave is entirely dry.


Sketched caves








(116) m

-(41) m



547 m


(60) m

-(30) m



590 m


(50) m

(0) m



98 m


(37) m

-(37) m



1 m


(30) m

-(2) m



273 m


(30) m

-(12) m



148 m


(20) m

-(15) m



415 m


(20) m




16 m


(20) m

(0) m



225 m


(15) m

-(l) m



235 m


(15) m

-(14) m



916 m


(14) m

-(13) m



371 m


(12) m

-(10) m



398 m


439 m






Desamat Cave

N 12°32'00,6"- E 054°19'21,5" alt. 547 m. Length: (116) m. Vertical range: -(41) m.

Explored during SKP5. The entrance is a 31 m deep vertical shaft that requires full SRT gear. An additional descent on a shorter rope leads into a short descending passage that soon ends in both directions. The lowest level of Desmat Cave has some minor water flows.


Blue Dive Cenote

Ghubbah village, N 12°36'27,2"- E 053°46'54,3", alt. 1 m. Length: (37) m. Vertical range: -(37) m.

Explored by cave divers during SKP2 and 4. The cenote is situated immediately near the village mosque of Ghubbah. For a general description see chapter 3.3.4. The water temperature is about 30° Celsius. 22 m below the water level a thermocline is present, below of which no signs of life were observed. Above the thermocline the visibility of the water is excellent (20 m) and there are many marine fish. Blue Dive Cenote was bottomed at a depth of 37 m. Although the cenote extends under the rims of the entrance lake there were no obvious penetrable continuations found that link the cenote to the nearby ocean nor that lead further into the island. No current was observed. There is an in-feeder of fresh water.


Kasheray Cave

N 12° 32'06,0" - E 054°19"08,1", alt. 590 m. Length: (60) m. Vertical range: -(30) m.

Explored during SKP5. A 22 m deep vertical shaft with tree roots leads into a short and narrow horizontal passage. SRT gear is necessary. The cave is dry.


Erehek Cave

N 12°26'55,2" - E 054°04'30,4", alt. 415 m. Length: (20) m. Vertical range: -(15) m.

Erehek Cave was explored during SKP6. The cave is a large 6 m wide rift, accessible at the east end via a 10 m deep descent and a subsequent 2 m drop. No special features. The cave is entirely dry.