The land of Alif Laila, splendid Saudi Arabia, is known for hidden gems. Secretly located caves of Riyadh with stunning landscapes often attract travelers and explorers from around the globe.
Now picture this. Layers of red rock formation, dark alleyways, patchy paths, crystal clear underground lake! Sounds straight out of a Hollywood movie?
But this is an actual place hidden away in a small village called Wadi As Sulay in Riyadh.
Blissfully unaware of Riyadh’s hustle and bustle, Wadi As Sulay is a dreamy little place embraced by the stunning Mount Al Jubayl. Facing this kingly mountain is Ain Heet (Hit, Hith, or Heeth) Cave – a rare beauty.
The beauty of Ain Heet
Like someone just opened his eye, the entrance of the Ain Heet resembles the shape of an eye in the middle of a vast limestone formation, and hence named thus (Ain means eye). Easily accessible from the city of Riyadh, Ain Heet is situated between Riyadh and Al Kharj roads.
An abandoned pump house in the vicinity marks the way of the cave.
The beauty of Ain Heet lies in the mysterious entrance, whose mouth is about 20 meters wide. That narrows down to about 5 meters as you begin to explore inside.
Sudden darkness engulfs you as you cave in, but the scattered rays of sunlight falling on the surface from its mouth light up the path for about 100 meters more.
This is when the smell of anhydrite minerals hits you as your eyes notice the limestone formations in several asymmetrical patterns.
It is believed that oil explorers had found the first surface outcrop of the minerals in this cave in Riyadh. As you struggle your way through one rock opening after another, many steep and enjoyable pathways greet you.
More adventure ahead of Cave in Riyadh
Ain Heet cave is at least 45 degrees down. You must be careful with the descent because there are several loose boulders along the way. While climbing up, however, it’s the sharp boulders that you need to watch out for.
The path may become slippery since smaller boulders are not fixed to the ground. However, passing the several layers of sedimentary rocks and just stopping to observe their shades of colors is a delightful experience.
Caves and limestones are common, but Ain Heet’s formations are unique in many ways. It’s possibly because the limited sunlight that the cave gets may alter the colors in different parts of the day.
As the light gets much less, you arrive at a spot of total darkness. This is where your mobile torchlight will come in handy. That’s also because here’s where the narrowest chamber of the cave begins, where there’s complete darkness.
Read: The Top Eight Places to Visit on Your Next Visit to Saudi Arabia
When the water’s reflections become visible
This is probably the most stunning part of the Ain Heet’s hiking expedition. The moment you arrive at the darkest chamber and move a little farther, you get to see the aqua-blue reflection of the underground lake on a large rock.
The water level has gone up over the years, and now being closer to the nearest sunlight source, it is possible to see the crystal clear water truly.
Deep cave divers have loved to swim in this 30-meter-deep lake. Even first-timers may try to dive in if they know swimming because you can see the bottom of the lake.
When to visit
Ain Heet is ideal for visiting any time of the year between Sunday to Saturday. Call ahead for the day and night timings.
Ain Heet, sometimes known as Ein Heet or Dahl Heet, is a naturally formed cave system loved for its crystal-clear water and limestone formations. If you are in Saudi Arabia, we suggest you explore this cave in Riyadh.
We hope this article serves as a guide to exploring this amazing natural wonder.