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Limpopo

VVisit the Echo Caves in Limpopo, and enjoy its well-lit walkways showcasing the beautiful dripstone formations, and the beautiful Crystal Palace and Madonna Room caves. You will appreciate why these caves are described as an underground wonderland.

Just 26km from Origstad, a small town tucked away in the Limpopo province, the Echo Caves - a historical monument - is made up of some of the oldest limestone caves in the world. This underground wonderland was found in 1923 by the owner of the farm called Klipfonteinhoek when he was searching for water. Great was his surprise when he realised that some of his cattle had mysteriously disappeared into the cave. After some exploring, it was soon realised that this dark underworld carried with it the most beautiful gems of nature.

Did You Know?
TThe name Echo was given to the caves, as a certain stalactite formation produces a distinctive echoing sound when tapped on. This echo can still be heard on the outside of the caves today.

TThe caves are said to stretch for over 40km, but nobody knows their full extent. They are also so called because the local people used one of the stalactites as a drum to warn of any approaching Swazis. As these caves extend for some 40km, the sound travelled for surprisingly long distances and the people could take refuge in the caves.

 

If you would like to visit the caves there are two tour options – 45 minutes and 75 minutes. The longer tour explores 2km of the cave network. The cave consists of impressive stalactites and stalagmite formations, which can be viewed comfortably from walkways with electric lights, railings and staircases that have been installed for safety and convenience. For the more adventurous, a special tour can be organised to go deeper into the cave. The end of the cave has not yet been found and it is said that the end of the Echo Caves is somewhere close to the Strijdom Tunnel. The caving tour, however, is not recommended for people with claustrophobia.

The caves have further historical significance in that prehistoric items and artifacts dating back to the Stone Age have been found here. These are now housed inside the nearby Museum of Man, which is definitely worth a visit. If you stay on the farm, you can also hike in the surrounding mountains, which are part of the northern Drakensberg range, and are also home to rare birds like the elusive blue swallow.

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