If you don’t own a swimming pool and don’t want to spend the day in your bathtub, one way to freshen up on a hot summer day is to visit a cave!
The Caves of Han, are one the most popular attraction in Belgium. They are quite beautiful, and display all the usual rock formation that can be seen in caves.
A little guide of the cave formations that you get to see there:
Stalactites hang from the ceiling.
Stalagmites rise from the floor.
Columns or pillars are formed when a stalactite and a stalagmite meet.
Straws are hollow mineral cylindrical tubes. They are usually found in cluster. They will become stalactites if the hole at the bottom is blocked.
Flowstones are formed where water flows down the walls or along the floors of a cave.
Draperies or curtains are thin, wavy sheets hanging downward.
Chandeliers are complex clusters of ceiling decorations.
All of these cave formations, or speleothems (oh fancy word!), are mineral deposits formed typically of calcium carbonate. They are therefore mostly of a creamy white color. Other minerals might also deposit and create different array of colors.
Please don’t touch. These cave formations took thousand of years to form and by touching them, you will alter the growth of the formation. Even if they look sturdy, they are fragile. Oils and dirt on your hands could stain the formations and change their color permanently. Bacterias and germs you would be depositing on them, would damage them in the long term.
The little tram taking you from the village to the entrance of the caves
The entrance of the caves
The Minaret, a 5m high stalagmite.
And let me feature Mr A. pictures here below! I think he is doing really really good and I like it when he takes pictures!!
These 2 pictures below and above are quite amazing. The formations you see at the bottom at the pictures are not stalagmites but the reflection of the stalactites above.
The bridge that takes you back outside. You can’t go out before the canon has been shot to ensure all the ghost have disappeared 😉
If you like caves, you should check out my post about
the Cheddar Gorges in the UK, or the Skocjan caves in Slovenia.
So what about the wildlife reserve? Well I can not recommend it and I actually highly discourage you to go.
The domain is extremely vast and yet some of the animals there only have a very limited area to live in. And I was shocked and sad, and upset I gave money to support this. Yes the dears, the horses, and the cows roam semi-freely in the valley. But I’m talking about the bears, the owls, the lynxes, the wolves… These animals are held captive in small enclosures, deprived of everything that is natural and important to them. They don’t look better off than in a zoo despite the fact that this is supposed to be a natural reserve.
The ‘safari bus’ which takes you on the tour of the valley, stops in front of their enclosures for a few minutes at most. People wait for the animal to do something ‘exciting’. The bus driver will eventually throw some food to motivate the animals. And off you go to the next one…
And for them? in 15mn, at most, another bus will come…
Please think about it before you decide to take the bus. This is in no way educational neither for you or your kids. You will not gain anything and will certainly not get a better understanding of the animals you see.
And if you are really having fun by watching miserable, captive animals then I am even sadder.
Nops… this is not what bear natural habitat looks like
This place is so big, it could be different, so much better for the animals and therefore for the visitors.
The Technical bits
The official website, www.grotte-de-han.be, is very detailed and gives plenty information to organise your day.
A bit pricey so make the most of your ticket!
The caves are located about 1 hour drive, south of Brussels and easily reachable.
Again, please don’t touch!
You probably should wear comfortable walking shoes as the floors are very slippery and maybe bring a light jacket, just in case.
Hope you enjoyed the pictures. If you liked them, let me know in the comments below!