Leviathan Cave: Grotte de Leviathan in Kenya

Leviathan Cave, also known as Leviathan Grotto (It can also be called Leviathan’s Lair) is a lava tube in eastern Kenya first discovered in 1975. It is tucked away in the heart of the Taita Hills. Although it has been segmented by the movement of tectonic plates, the overall length of the lava tube spans a distance of 11.5 km (7.1 mi). It is the longest and deepest known lava tube in Africa. The cave system is among the deepest cave system in the world. It extends more than 5,000 meters (over 16,000 feet) below the surface. The cave system extends about 3 kilometers (2 miles), making it approximately twice the size of the next largest Kenyan lava tubes, but its size alone doesn’t make Leviathan Cave particularly well-known. It has been a frequent tourist destination ever since. There have been many unfortunate accidents over the years however, and Leviathan Cave is now believed to be cursed.

Leviathan Cave is situated northwest of Tsavo West National Park in the Chyulu Hills National Park, on the edge of the Nyiri Desert. Leviathan Cave was the world’s third-longest known lava tube in the 1980s. Contemporary surveys have discovered longer recognised tubes as well as longer, fresher tubes. Not only is Leviathan Cave the longest lava tube in Africa, but it is also the eleventh longest worldwide. Not only is Leviathan’s Lair a popular tourist site but scientists also find the cave to have intriguing geology.

Leviathan Cave (Grotte de Leviathan) in Kenya

Overview of Leviathan Cave

This Cave is unusual however, because it has a complete second tube inside. It proper lies at the top of the volcano, this is also called Upper Leviathan or Leviathan I. It is 9,152 m (30,026 ft) long, with a depth of 408 m (1,339 ft) and Lower Leviathan or Leviathan II, it lies below Leviathan Cave I. It is 2,071 m (6,795 ft) long, with a depth of 70 m (230 ft). Leviathan I and Leviathan II lie parallel to each other and they merge at one point deep inside Leviathan II. These segments are considered separately when ranking the length of the Leviathan, per international standard. Like all lava tubes, Leviathan Cave was formed by hot lava flowing beneath a cooled crust. Despite its less-than-comforting name, the Cave is a beautiful and amazing location for geologists and adventure seekers alike.

Leviathan Cave (Grotte de Leviathan) in Kenya


Apart from its geological importance, the cave also boasts of a diverse ecosystem of cave-dwelling creatures. Inside, you can find various species of bats, spiders, snakes, and insects. The cave is also home to a number of marine animals, including fish, shrimp, and crabs and even blind fish that have adapted to the subterranean environment. The damp and gloomy climate of the cave creates an ideal habitat for these creatures. Scientists and wildlife enthusiasts have a great opportunity to examine these unusual adaptations due to the nature of the environment of the cave.

Leviathan Cave (Grotte de Leviathan) in Kenya

Cultural significance of Leviathan Cave

Leviathan Cave has a rich history and holds cultural significance among the local Taita people. According to folklore, the cave was once inhabited by a giant serpent, known as the Leviathan, which is said to have terrorized the local communities. Though the serpent is mythical, the cave’s name and its stories make visiting this natural wonder a unique cultural experience. Visiting Leviathan Cave is an adventure in itself. To explore its depths, visitors are advised to engage the services of experienced local guides. These guides are not only knowledgeable about the geological and cultural significance of the cave but also ensure that your visit is safe and informative.

When visiting Leviathan Cave, as with other natural wonder, it’s important to engage in responsible tourism. The three most important things to remember are to respect the environment, not disturb the cave’s inhabitants, and leave no trace. Because the cave provides money for the local community, protecting it for future generations is essential. The cave is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. Its stunning geological formations, cultural significance, and unique ecosystem make it a destination that should be on every traveler’s bucket list.

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