EuroSpeleo 2016 Sessions

The Cave at the Source of the Nile

Session code: OE36

Oral / Exploration, Main EuroSpeleo Conference

Mr Robin Weare


To be honest it was the Blue Nile and, although we were told it was the source I think it could certainly be described as a source. To be totally upfront about this; we were about 3,700m up Mount Guna in Ethiopia and at a rising which is the highest feeder of Lake Tana, which is the source of the Blue Nile, so maybe the locals are right.

It all started in November 2015 when Hailu Menale, a Lecturer at Debre Tabor University, stumbled across a couple of caves during a field trip. He hit the internet and contacted the Fort Stanton Cave Study Project in New Mexico. They contacted George Veni of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute. He contacted Chris Howes, the editor of Descent, and Chris contacted me. I then contacted Hailu & suggested he might like to try to find a few more caves; three weeks later he was able to tell me he now knew of 48.

This is the story of the expedition which followed …… expedition to a previously unknown caving area where we found caves in Churches, caves in rock we couldn’t identify, the largest single cave chamber in Ethiopia and, on the final afternoon, The Cave at the Source of the Nile.


Caving for 30 years in UK and worldwide. Expeditions in recent years include several to Ethiopia as well as Thailand, Namibia & Montenegro.