Majlis Al Jinn Cave (Salma Plateau) Oman
Out of sight in the heart of brown hills located at the foothills of the eastern Al Hajar Mountains hides one of the greatest and most beautiful natural wonders. It is the Majlis Al Jinn Cave, or Salma Plateau as it is commonly known, and is considered one of the largest underground caves in the world.
The area of this enormous cave is 58 thousand square metres and its capacity is 4 million cubic metres. The length of Majlis Al Jinn Cave is 310 metres and its width is 225 metres. A dome-shaped ceiling tops the cave at a height of 120 metres. Despite the enormity of this cave, it is difficult to detect it from the outside in this vast area, as the only evidence of its existence is a scant three openings that seem of no importance to the viewer.
Majlis Al Jinn Cave is located at the northern limit of Salma Plateau near the village of Fins in Willyat Qurayyat in the Governorate of Muscat. It is situated along the road linking Fins with Tiwi Village of Willyat Sur in the A'Sharqiyah South Governorate.
Majlis Al Jinn Cave was first discovered by accident while searching for carbonate rocks in a quest to discover deep underground water reserves. The first man to descend inside the cave was Don Davidson in 1983, through an opening extending to a depth of 120 metres, considered to be the shallowest of the three openings. In 1984, he was followed by his wife, Cheryl Jones, who descended into the Cave through its deepest opening, which goes down 158 metres. Don Davidson once again descended through the third opening in 1985.
Reaching the Cave opening requires strenuous physical effort, since you must traverse a distance of 1,300 metres to reach the cave opening through rugged mountain terrain. This trip takes about five hours. The only way to descend into the cave is by ropes. Geologists put the age of this cave (Majlis Al Jinn, or Salma Plateau as some like to call it owing to the area where it’s located) at fifty million years. The cave is considered a repository of natural life treasures.
The Ministry of Tourism is currently developing a mechanism to facilitate tourist visits to the cave chamber to enjoy the geological formations and wildlife there, through building a path specially for tours of the cave.