Did you know?
Some of the world's oldest works of art were discovered in a South African cave.
South Africa has some amazingly diverse caves, ranging from massive underground amphitheatres to World Heritage Sites where fossils of early hominids abound.
In some caves, rock paintings bear silent but colourful testimony to the spiritual traditions and rites of early humans. In others, stalactites and stalagmites, formed from crystallised minerals, create fantastic fluted columns, strange shapes and bizarre figures.
If you’re en route to the Kruger National Park then don't bypass Mpumalanga's Sudwala Caves. They are the oldest known caves in the world, formed approximately 3.8 million years ago when Africa was still part of the super continent of Godwanaland. Daily tours take you into the heart of the caves, where an awesome limestone amphitheatre, surrounded by rock formations of fantastical shapes, is mysteriously cooled by an unknown source of fresh air.
The famous Cango Caves near Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape consist of a series of limestone dripstones in dramatic shapes. Spot the graceful ballerina, the frozen waterfall and the 9m-high Cleopatra’s Needle, said to be 150 000 years old. The hour-long tour takes in the first 6 chambers and the Grand Hall – the largest of the caves' chambers.
The Sterkfontein Caves and the Wonder Cave in Gauteng lie within the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. Containing a wealth of hominid fossils, these caves are a must of you’re interested in the origins of humankind. Another important archaeological and anthropological site can be found at the Makapansgat Caves in the North West province.