Olivier Testa is not what could be called a customary engineer. Over the years, he has created and followed his own path. And a rather unconventional path it is, as he became a professional explorer and a seasoned speleologist.

Recently graduated from one of France most renown educational institutions, Ecole Centrale Paris, Olivier starts working in marketing at Procter and Gamble. He pursues in a consulting firm and in 2001 he becomes an associate engineer at INRIA, a public science and technology institution dedicated to computational sciences.

However his passion for caving takes over in 2005 and he decides then to focus his career on exploring the planet cave systems. Since then, he travels the world to discover new caves, study limestone formations, implement topographical surveying and cartography of those virgin territories.

Each year, Olivier creates and manages up to 5 expeditions.

In the explorations he leads, he gathers together scientists to work upon various aspects of karst systems and environment. For example, in Saudi Arabia, he partners with CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) for archeological research. In Cameroon and Gabon, he collaborates with scientists from IRD (Institut de recherche pour le développement) as well as the University of Florida (USA) and the University of Rouen (France) to study biodiversity. His explorations also contribute to climate change research in Cameroun (University of Montpellier).
His various missions took him to explore China as well as Patagonia extreme karst systems, and he also works for the conservation and promotion of Haiti’s underground heritage.

In 2010, with Dr. Oslisly (IRD), he discovers in Gabon an odd crocodile species : orange saurian dwelling in caves. The movie about this expedition is frequently programmed in films festivals.

The same year, he also co-founded NOT Associés, an engineering firm specialized in the creation of and expertise on specific measuring equipment adapted to extreme conditions, be it in tropical, polar, subterranean or subaquatic environments.


  • Sous la jungle reste le mystère, Testa O., Oslisly R., Speleo Mag n°84, pp 36-38, déc 2013
  • Haïti : dans les terres évocatrices, Testa O., Speleo Mag n°83, pp 26-31, sept 2013
  • A la recherche du crocodile orange, Testa O., Oslisly R., Speleo Mag n°81, pp 28-31, march 2013
  • Les puits et qanats de Dumat al-Jandal (cover), Thomas M., Testa O., Courbon P., Spelunca n°129, pp 43-47, march 2013
  • Nouvelle piste de recherche à la grotte Nkwei (Cameroun), Testa O., Karstologia n°59, pp 55-57, 2012
  • Heart of Darkness, Testa O., Oslisly R., Gabon Magazine summer 2011, 6p., Gabon
  • Ayiti Toma 2009, expedition report, 2010, 49 p., Testa O.
  • Crocodiles des cavernes, Testa O. Oslisly R., Decaëns T., Shirley M., Sebag D., Spelunca n°124, pp 41-43, dec 2011
  • Les grottes sacrées des hautes terres de l’Ouest du Cameroun, Testa O., Spelunca n°116, 2011
  • Ultima Patagonia 2010 : Dix ans dans les karsts du Grand Sud, Marbach et al., Spelunca n°118, pp 9-24, juin 2010
  • Voyages en terre chinoise t3, 240p, Jean Bottazzi et al, 2010.
  • Ayiti Toma 2009, reconnaissance spéléologique, Testa O., Spéléo Magazine, n°68, pp8-10, déc. 2009
  • Speleological Projects 2007 and 2008 to Gabon (Central Africa) Frost T., Testa O., Berliner Höhlenkundliche Berichte (BHB) vol. 36, 68p. 2009
  • Voyages en terre chinoise t2, Spélunca Mémoire, 150p, 2006 Jean Bottazzi et al.