by Andy Khong
Hoq Cave (كهف هوق) is a natural cave located near the village of Saqra in north-east Socotra Island, which is part of Yemen. The cave is known for its unique geological features and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Exterior view of Hoq Cave.
To reach the cave, visitors must hike along a rugged path that winds its way through the island’s Momi Heights mountain terrain, with alien looking vegetation.
The hike up to Hoq Cave can be a bit challenging, especially for those who are not used to hiking or are not in good physical condition. The trail leading up to the cave is steep and rocky, and requires a moderate level of fitness to navigate.
However, the hike is not overly strenuous and most people with an average level of fitness should be able to complete it. Visitors should wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as the trail can be quite exposed to the blazing sun.
It is mandatory to hire a local guide to take you up to the cave, as they provide valuable information about the area, and help ensure that you stay safe on the trail. The guide also help you with exploration inside the cave as it can be dangerous and easy to get lost. Additionally, they help you spot wildlife or interesting geological formations that you may not have noticed otherwise.
On average, most people take about 1.5 hours to hike up Hoq Cave (allow between 1-2.5 hours depending on your fitness level and the pace of your hike). The hike to Hoq Cave may be a bit challenging and tiresome for some, it is certainly doable and well worth the effort for the stunning views and unique natural features that await at the end of the trail.
The cave’s interior is about 3 kilometres long – it is quite spacious in some areas, with high ceilings and wide passages, while in other areas it may be narrower and require some manoeuvring to get through. You will need a headlamp or torch (flashlight) once you go inside the cave.
Hoq Cave crystalline formations.
Inside, visitors can see a variety of impressive geological features that have been formed over thousands of years. These features include stalactites, stalagmites, and other formations that have been created by the slow drip of water over time.
Stalactites are formations that hang from the ceiling of the cave and are formed when mineral-rich water drips down and leaves behind deposits of calcium carbonate. Stalagmites, on the other hand, are formations that grow up from the floor of the cave and are formed by the same process.
In addition to these formations, visitors to Hoq Cave may also see flowstones, which are smooth sheets of mineral deposits that form on cave walls, as well as helictites, which are formations that twist and turn in unusual directions.
The colours and textures of the formations inside Hoq Cave are also impressive, with shades of white, brown, and grey creating a stunning visual display. Some of the formations may also be illuminated with artificial lighting, which adds to the other-worldly atmosphere of the cave.
The length of time that visitors spend inside the cave can vary depending on their interests and level of exploration. Some visitors may only spend a few minutes inside the cave, while others may spend an hour or more taking in the sights and exploring the various formations.
In addition to its geological wonders, Hoq Cave is also home to a variety of wildlife, including a population of Egyptian fruit bats. Visitors can sometimes see these bats flying in and out of the cave’s entrance.
Overall, Hoq Cave is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Socotra Island. Its unique geological features and stunning views make it a true natural wonder.
“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end” – Ursula K. Le Guin
YPT Socotra Island Yemen tours: https://www.youngpioneertours.com/socotra-tours/