Overnight in a Drakensberg cave, KwaZulu-Natal
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Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife provides comprehensive details of each cave, from comfort levels to accessibility to water.
Marble Baths Cave, Sherman’s Cave, Spare Rib Cave, Nutcracker Cave and Sleeping Beauty Cave – choose from any one of these and dozens more when you overnight in a cave in the Drakensberg.
The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, the first site in South Africa to be recognised as both a Cultural and Natural World Heritage Site, is home to the majestic Drakensberg, South Africa's largest and most spectacular mountain range.
The Zulus call uKhahlamba (pronounced Ooka-hlamba) the Barrier of Spears, but don’t be put off by the formidable name – there are hikes, rambles, walks and ambles for everyone from the super-fit to the couch potato.
You'll see stunning scenery while hiking and, often, superb examples of the world-famous San rock paintings – arguably the finest in the country.
If you're prepared to rough it for a night then a unique way to get really close to nature and to experience the mountains at first-hand is to overnight in a cave.
Though you are forbidden to sleep in caves with San paintings, there are many others where you can unroll your sleeping bag, tuck into your rations, enjoy a tot and watch the dawn come up over the peaks, or see the sun set from your high eyrie.
Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife will give you a comprehensive list of caves you can overnight in, but you must book well in advance. Some caves sleep only two, others up to 12, so you may find yourself alone or joined by another party of intrepid hikers.
There are some important wilderness principles to abide by when overnighting in a cave: no fires; relieve yourself well away from the cave; what you take in, you take out; and, finally, leave only your footprints, so that others may enjoy the same wilderness experience.