Exploring Caves and Coves in South Africa Jarastyle travel

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From the expansive mountain ranges and plateaus to the rugged coastlines of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, South Africa is home to a fascinating array of coves and caves.

The mesmerising realms of these geological creations are exciting to explore, and these ten caves and coves are some of the best.

1. Waenhuiskrans Cave in Arniston

The ‘Wagon House Cliff’ on Arniston’s coastline is a huge limestone cave that’s only accessible during low tide. It includes a beach walk and a scramble to get there, but the cave offers views worthy of the effort. According to Xplorio, legend has it that the cave is large enough to turn ‘an ox wagon with a full span of oxen around inside.’

2. Tarn Cave, Drakensberg

If you’re in the Southern Drakensberg region, the Tarn Cave is the perfect overnight shelter with spectacular views of the mountains. It involves a nine-kilometre hike to reach it, but if you go as a group, the cave can accommodate up to 12 people.

3. Klipgat Cave, De Kelders

caves south africa

The Klipgat Cave can be accessed via Walker Bay Nature Reserve and offers incredible ocean views. This cave holds stories of inhabitants from the Middle and Later Stone Age and Khoi pastoralists from almost 2000 years ago. Archeologists have even found some of the earliest human remains.

4. Motouleng Caves, Clarens

Motouleng Caves, or the Fertility Cave, in Clarens is off the beaten path and considered a ‘sacred place.’ Visitors go to the cave to honour their ancestors, worship God, seek answers to unanswered questions, or simply out of curiosity. This big cave is more of a rock overhang, deep enough for people to stay overnight, and different recesses where visitors pray or meditate.

5. Makapans Caves, the Waterberg

This cave was declared a ‘Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa World Heritage Site’ in 2005 and contributes towards our understanding of human evolution. Thousands of fossil bones from the Early Stone Age to the Iron Age have been found in this limestone cave network.

8. High Rock Cave, Thompsons Bay

On one of Ballito’s most beautiful beaches is High Rock Cave, otherwise known as ‘Hole in the Wall.’ It’s not so much a cave as a tunnel leading to another beautiful beach. You will often find people surrounding the little cave, taking turns to have their picture taken.

6. Stadsaal Caves, Cederberg

caves south africa

High up in the Central Cederberg region is a network of caves that adventurers will love exploring. The unique rock formations and open caves will capture your attention for hours, as will the Bushman rock paintings that portray a time when elephants walked through the Cederberg.

7. Guano Cave, Tsitsikamma

Guano Cavs is found along the Waterfall Trail in Tsitsikamma National Park. It’s the perfect rest stop to grab water and catch your breath before the rock scrambles. Further, the photo opportunities are excellent for all Instagramers and those looking to capture epic memories

9. Point of Human Origins, Mossel Bay

caves south africa

Picture: Getaway Gallery

The only way to reach this cave is via a series of boardwalks and steep stairways, so fitness is important. Another important thing to note is you need to book a guided tour to see this cave. The Point of Human Origins in Mossel Bay has been an archaeological wonderland, as fossils dating back to the Stone Age are continuously being dug up in and around the cave.

10. Dappat se Gat, Helderberg

caves south africa

Chances are you’ve seen a post or two of Dappat se Gat splashed across your Instagram feed. You’ll find this natural gem along Clarence Drive at the end of Kogel Bay Beach. Livestock thief Dappat would steal livestock back when Strand and Gordon’s Bay were primarily farming communities and stashed his steals in the caves around the mountains. Farmers would have no idea where their livestock had gotten to as high tide would wash away Dappat’s tracks.

Pictures: Alamy

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ALSO READ: Rural South Africa projected to be next tourist hotspot for adventure seekers



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