The Wonderwerk Cave
Did you know?
The Wonderwerk Cave was inhabited by humans as far back as two million years ago.
Two million year-old stone tools excavated in 2008 at Wonderwerk Cave (Afrikaans for 'miracle cave') provide the earliest evidence of intentional occupation by our cave-dwelling ancestors. This is just the latest in a string of discoveries in this massive grotto that has revealed so much about human evolution.
Situated in the Kuruman Hills between Danielskuil and Kuruman in the Northern Cape, this South African historical cave is so large that local legend has it that a fully in-spanned ox-wagon could be turned in its entrance.
This made it ideal as shelter for numerous creatures, including hominids and Homo sapiens. The Wonderwerk Cave is among the oldest inhabited caves on Earth, containing a wealth of information.
The Northern Cape is a harsh environment, dry and stark. But it was not always so.
Well-preserved specimens of flora found in the cave show ice ages and times when the surroundings were warmer and wetter. It was a landscape that sustained a great variety of wildlife, much of it now extinct.
Various tools from the early, middle and later Stone Ages reveal that this cave was once one of the most technologically advanced places in the world.
Other evidence shows how hunter-gatherer lifestyles evolved. The finger paintings of animals such as eland and elephant on the cave walls go back as far as 1500 years.
The Wonderwerk Cave and surroundings were ceded to the McGregor Museum in Kimberley and declared a National Heritage Site.
This prehistoric cave is open to the public with certain areas cordoned off for research and conservation purposes. There are wheelchair-friendly cave walkways for visitors as well as an information and exhibition centre.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)53 839 2700
Cell: +27 (0)82 222 4777
How to get here
Wonderwerk Cave is 43km south of Kuruman in the Northern Cape. It is accessible by road and well sign-posted.
Best time to visit
Any time of the year. Summer can get very hot while winter, though mild during the day, gets very cold in the evenings.
Around the area
For bird enthusiasts, there are interesting birding and nature trails in the area.
Tours to do
The caves are open from 8am to 5pm during the week.
What will it cost
R20 per adult; R10 per child
Length of stay
A day is all that is needed to explore the Wonderwerk Cave but a weekend or longer will give you the opportunity to explore the surrounding area.
What to pack
A hat, sunscreen and bottled water doing summer. Also take a camera with a working flash and comfortable walking shoes. Winter can get very cold in the evenings so pack accordingly.
Where to stay
Wonderwerk Cave has self-catering chalets available in the area.