THE LONGEST CAVE OF BANAT (6547 m)
The explorers and speotourism lovers will be privileged to see in the Anina Mountains the largest cave from Banat: the Buhui Cave (6,547 m). It is crossed by the longest underground river in Romania: the Buhui River (2,100 m).
The Buhui cave delights visitors with the charm of the depths created by ornaments like stalactites and stalagmites. The cave reveals true karstic beauties throughout its entire expanse. The river crossing the cave sometimes spreads in waterfalls (Big Waterfall and Little Waterfall), other times it breaks in lakes that can only be crossed by the pneumatic boat. Above the underground river the vault is sometimes very high, reaching the height of even 40 m, and sometimes it is so close to the water mirror so that you have to bend and do the squat jog. On the walls, nature freed its imagination and embroidered unique shapes that also imposed the names of the galleries: Bear Hall, Column Hall, Hall of Domes, so forth.
However, it is quite difficult to cross the entire cave, putting before the visitors both guidance traps and crossing obstacles (waterfalls, lakes, screens).
Therefore, it is recommended that the cave be traversed by segments with surface exits on one of the three entrances: Certej Entrance, Valley Entrance and Buhui Grotto. Each underground visit must be well prepared with a minimum of appropriate equipment: boots, helmets and torches. The group will be accompanied by a guide who is familiar with the cave, from the The Explorers Association of Resita.
To get to Buhui Cave, you have to start from Anina’s centre towards Buhui Lake, descending down the Maial road at the dam. Then go along the Buhui Valley, watching the water hiding in the sinkholes, and the white limestone riverbed becomes dry for a few hundred meters. After a kilometre walk from the dam, the Certej Entrance is reached. If the road continues on the surface, after another kilometre you reach the Crossroads from the Saua Cuptoare, where it meets the StEG Road (Anina -Resita). From here you descend on a path of almost 500 m long to a large sinkhole where the Cave Entrance is. On the route marked with a blue cross between Buhui Lake – Buhui Grotto – Celnic Cabin you reach the third entrance to the cave, the Buhui Grotto. At this lower entrance of the cave an artificial dam was built to capture Buhui, being the water source of Anina town. The dam raises the water level in the last 500 m of the gallery, and in this part the cave can only be travelled by boat or by swimming in a neoprene suit. The main gallery is 2100 m and is entirely covered by the Buhui River. It has many turnarounds and only a few large halls to traverse. Short and muffled side galleries branch out from the main gallery.
The Buhui Cave can be traversed from one end to the other by using successively all the three entrances.
You first penetrate through Certej Entrance with the opening of 9 m and 2 m high. Only 22 m from the entrance you arrive to the main gallery through which, from the left, the Buhui River appears from the Buhui Lake. The upstream sector is the first to be explored, advancing to the left at a distance of nearly 650 m. At the first turnover the first dorns can be spotted in the riverbed. At the next turn you can admire the first stalactite decorated with rim stone dams with steps full of water. It is the Spring Waterfall. Immediately after the bend you can see the beautiful stalagmite called The Eagle. You stop in front of a strong spring, the place where the Buhui River springs underground at the top of the main gallery. Yu turn back to the confluence of Buhui with the Certej stream at the entrance bearing the same name. You continue downhill through the main gallery over a length of nearly 400 meters, visiting the Fauna Room to the right. From the place where the ceiling almost touches the water at the Difficult Pass it returns to Certej Entrance and goes out. The journey continues to the surface on the path to the second entrance, where it reaches about one kilometre downstream.
You enter through the entrance to the valley by an opening of 11 m and 2.5 m high, advancing first to the left, till you reach the Difficult Pass. On the way there the Suspended Room and the Collapses Room can be seen. On the way back, accustomed to the travelled course, “you can admire the underground river; the high and arched Gothic vaults and the elegant, unrealised figures of the columns and limestone pillars are reflected in its black waters, at the lamp’s light.“ [Lascu C., 2008]. After the brilliant formation, namely the White Waterfall, the river water gets lost again. Starting downstream from the La Dolina Entrance, after 100 m the water reappears in a string, and after another 100 m a 3 m deep dorn is formed that can only be crossed by boat. Beyond the hill you reach the Great Waterfall, where the water falls from 3 m into a 2.5 m deep lake, which makes you freeze literally and figuratively. You turn again at the Doline Entrance and then you exit the cave. You go on the route to the third entrance. At the triangular mouth of the Buhui Grotto entrance, being 12 m wide and 14 m high, the boat starts on the storage lake’s mirror against the current. It passes next to the Hall of the Columns and the Dome Hall from the gallery on the right of the river, to the Confluence Hall, where the lake with a depth of over 5m ends. Then, with boots on your feet, you reach the Little Waterfall, where the water falls from 1.7 m into a round lake.
The Little Waterfall is located 70 m from the Big Waterfall. If you carefully avoid the waterfall, you penetrate into the Bear’s Hall on a “rock edge”, which is adorned with splendid karst formations. It is a well-deserved reward for a difficult and tiring exploration. After returning to Buhui Grotto, you reach the “Flag Road”, on which you can only march till the paved road descending in broad serpentines to the centre of Anina, offering in the same time unforgettable sceneries. The Buhui Cave can be visited on a continuous route by the professional explorers. The time required for the visit is about 6 hours. The required equipment is composed of: neoprene suit, a helmet with light source, life jacket, airtight jug, harness and descender. The Big Waterfall is crossed in “booster” and reaches a 3 m deep marmite, and the Small Waterfall is crossed by plunges into the water from the height of 2 m. Unique!