Located just south of the village of Dibab in the Muscat governorate of Oman and about 580 metres inland from the sea is the Bimmah Sinkhole and hidden lake. Over the millennia, water draining off the Salmah plateau to the south has worked its way underground and created an extensive network of subterranean caverns. Flash floods caused by the winter rains encourage active underground erosion and ultimately sinkholes such as Bimmah occur. It is roughly 50m by 70m large and about 27 metres deep. The blue-green lake has a sloping floor and is over ten metres deep at the eastern edge of the sinkhole
The Bimmah Sinkhole can be found in the Hawiyat Najm Park – which literally meaning Meteor Fall Park in Arabic. This name originates from the legend that tells of a shooting star that fell on the on the coastal plain between Quriat and Sur and left the hole that can be seen today. Some versions of the story say it was actually a piece of the moon that fell to Earth.
The actual sink hole is also known locally as Bait al-Afreet which means ‘House of the Demon or Home of the Goblin’ depending on who you talk to. People interviewed from nearby Tiwi believe that the name should more accurately mean home of the Djinn (الجن, al-jinn) – a mythical Arabian spirit being named after their ability to hide. These creatures can be either good or evil – just like humans. In the case of the Bimmah Sinkhole the nature of the resident al-jinnī could be either pleasant or unpleasant depending on its mood and the politeness of the humans visiting the pool. In the worst cases it was said to entice people into the water and then through an underwater tunnel to the sea where they would drown. This may have some basis in fact as folklore tells that people would jump into the pool from the eastern ledge. The pool was visited by world famous Vlogger (video Blogger) Casey Neistat in 2012 as part of his ‘Make it Count’ video for NIKE. In the video Casey actual jumps from the ledge into the pool. The tagline attached to this action is – ‘Do something that scares you’!
Watch the full Casey Neistat ‘Make it Count’ video here
In fact, the Bimmah Sinkhole is connected to the sea and the emerald green colour of the lake is often attributed to the mixing of mineral rich fresh water from the underground rivers and the saline water of the nearby ocean. Although swimming and snorkelling is permitted in the lake, actually scuba diving into the underground tunnels is generally considered far too dangerous. The upper layer of the lake is beautifully transparent but at the depth of some eight metres the water has an acidic taste due to sulphur oxidizing bacteria and is slightly milky. Swimmers have often reported that tiny fish will harmlessly nibble at the dead skin on their feet providing them with a free pedicure.
Bimmah Sinkhole is on route to either Wadi Shab or Wadi Al Arbaeen and a visit can be a few minutes or easily a few hours. Over the past decade the Bimmah Sinkhole has become a popular tourist destination and a lengthy set of concrete stairs allows visitors to easily access the water. The surrounding park has also become a popular place for picnics and BBQ’s and can get busy – somewhat spoiling the mystery of this remarkable geological wonder.