One of the oldest cave systems in the world is home to fascinating rock formations and a crystal cave.
Journey deep into the caverns, chambers and passageways of the Sudwala Caves, a vast cave system in the Drakensberg escarpment. The stunning grottos are said to be among the oldest in the world, dating back 240 million years.
Go on one of the guided tours of the cave, which last for approximately one hour. Inside the entrance chamber, see the collection of tools from the Stone Age. Some of the implements are more than 2 million years old. Step into the amphitheater, a huge cavern that is 121 feet (37 meters) at its highest point. There is a constant flow of air through this large space, but the origin of this natural air conditioning system is unknown.
Marvel at the curtains of stalactites and stalagmites and bizarre rock formations that go by such names as the Screaming Monster and the Weeping Madonna. Tribespeople who used to live here believed that drinking the water from the natural spring here would give them eternal life.
Ask your tour guide about how the cave system has been used over the years. Prehistoric man used to shelter here, while in the 19th century it was used as a fort.
If you are looking for some adventure, go on the crystal tour. The 4-hour expedition involves climbing up rocks and crawling through small spaces to get to a chamber of aragonite crystals. The tours must be booked in advance and details and prices are available on the cave attraction’s website.
The caves are open daily from morning until late in the afternoon. The standard tours have no fixed times and take place throughout the day. The maximum waiting time for a tour to begin is 15 minutes. There is an entrance fee, with discounts for children under 16 years old.
The Sudwala Caves lie in an area full of reserves and parks in the northeast of Mpumalanga. You will find them on the road from Mbombela (formerly known as Nelspruit) towards Sabie or Mashishing (formerly known as Lydenburg). Next door is the Sudwala Dinosaur Park.