The Wonder Cave, Gauteng
Did you know?
There are over 200 caves in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.
The Wonder Cave is South Africa’s third largest cave and one of the most beautifully decorated.
Easily accessible from the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, the approach to the Wonder Cave gives little clue of the geological wonders that lie beneath.
Like many of the limestone caves northwest of Johannesburg, early miners discovered the Wonder Cave while prospecting for gold and you'll see evidence of their blasting and mining activities during your tour.
The Wonder Cave is a huge single limestone cavern measuring 125m long, 54m wide and 60m deep. Reasonable fitness is required to tour the Wonder Cave. Whilst no crawling or arduous physical activity is required to complete the tour, the 88 steps that lead you into, and out of, the cave tend to leave most visitors a little breathless!
Formed between five and 10-million years ago, the Wonder Cave is remarkable in that its ancient dripstone formations are largely intact, and still growing.
Among the fantastical natural flowstone sculptures you'll see are stalagmites, some resembling weird mushrooms and jellyfish, others that look like fingers, depending on your imagination.
The variety of stalactites in the Wonder Cave is also impressive. Some clusters resemble crystal chandeliers; others petrified stone curtains.
The largest formation measures 15m in length and weighs 50 tons; other flowstone sculptures are as slender and delicate as gossamer.
In the Northern Chamber, the first area of the cavern visited on your tour, is a natural pool reminiscent of a font such as one finds at a shrine.
Coincidentally, the next flowstone formation you are shown is called the Madonna, and it's hard not to imagine supernatural powers at work as you wonder, slack-jawed with awe, at what time and nature have wrought in this subterranean limestone cathedral.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)11 957 0106/9
Wild Cave Adventures
Tel: +27 (0)82 486 2467; +27 (0)82 486 2464
How to get here
Take the R512 off the N1 highway and turn in the direction of Lanseria Airport. Follow the R512 past the three-way stop at Lanseria and then turn left at the Kromdraai/Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve sign. Follow the road for approx. 15km. The main entrance to the reserve will be on your right.
Best time to visit
Tours of the cave are available from 8am to 5pm every weekday (last tour at 4pm), and from 8am to 6pm on weekends and public holidays (last tour at 5pm).
Tours to do
Thrill seekers can abseil into the Wonder Cave, on a 90-minute tour that includes a visit to the Bat Cave. The abseil tour option is run by Wild Cave Adventures.
You’ll need your own vehicle to reach the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve. Once there, it's a 10-minute drive up to the cave.
What will it cost
R70 per adult, R60 for pensioners and R50 for children under 12.
Length of stay
The tour takes approximately 45 minutes.
What to pack
Walking surfaces in the cave can be slippery. Closed shoes with a good grip are preferable. The cave is well lit, but bring a torch if you wish. You’ll need a camera with a powerful flash to take photographs in the cave.
Where to stay
The Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve has a rustic rest camp as well as luxury log cabins for hire. The five-star Forum Homini hotel is also nearby.
What to eat
A kiosk at the cave site sells snacks and drinks. Alternately, there are barbeque facilities and a restaurant at the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve.