The Wonder Cave
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 5- 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 or a phallus, 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.