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MMarble 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 found in the majestic Drakensberg, the country’s largest and most spectacular mountain range.
The Zulus call the range uKhahlamba (pronounced Ooka-hlamba) – ‘the Barrier of Spears’, but don’t be put off by the formidable name – the variety of hikes, rambles, walks and ambles available will suit everyone from the super-fit to the couch potato.
You’ll see stunning scenery while hiking and superb examples of ancient 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 close to nature and experience the mountains first-hand is to overnight in a cave.
Though you are forbidden to sleep in caves with San paintings, there are many others in which you can unroll your sleeping bag, tuck into your rations, enjoy a tot and watch the sun set from your high eyrie, or see the dawn come up over the peaks.
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 2, 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;
- leave only your footprints, so that others may enjoy the same wilderness experience.
TTravel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife
Tel: +27 (0)33 845 1000
How to get here
Choose your rocky destination, then get detailed directions from Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife.
Best time to visit
The best months for hiking in the Drakensberg are April and May, although June through to September are also good – if you don’t mind the cold, and the possibility of heavy snowfall.
What to pack
Comfortable hiking boots, camping equipment, a hat and sunscreen, food and water.
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