It’s not just people and places that have a history. Caves have history too. Years ago, some even served as safe dens for smugglers, places of shelter for weary travellers, and even the home to some of the world’s scariest animals (think bats, bears, foxes, snakes).
Do you have a flight booked to the Western Cape any time soon? Make sure you check out these caves – they’re our top picks!
Boomslang Cave, Kalk Bay
This one’s for novice explorers and will take you right through the inside of a mountain. The hike is about 2 hours long and offers exceptional views of Echo Valley and Kalk Bay harbour. To get there, hike up Boyes Drive until you see the signs showing the way to Echo Valley. Continue along the trail until you spot the entrance – you can’t miss it. There’s also access via the Silvermine Nature Reserve.
Inside the cave, brace yourself for a few bat sightings, so keep noise low so as to not disturb them. If you keep your eye out for a secondary cave just near the entrance (called the White Dome Grotto), you will be able to feast your eyes on a labyrinth of winding tunnels and hallows.
Peers Cave, Fish Hoek
The Peers cave is just above the Fish Hoek dunes. The hike is fairly easy for around 20 minutes, but then it gets rocky and a little more complicated. The view of the sea and Noordhoek below is a sight to behold – enjoy it!
This particular cave has a bit of history behind it. Victor Peers, after who the cave is named, set to excavating it in 1927with his son. They stumbled across a human skull some 13 000 years old!
You can get there via the M64 from Cape Town. The start of the trail is in Silvermine Road, from the parking area. Visitors are advised to be alert and aware of potential muggings in the area.
Klipgat Cave, Gaansbaai
Klipgat Cave is found nestled within the Walker Bay Nature Reserve. This is another cave with a bit of history behind it. In 1992 during excavation, 70 000 year old human bones and stone tools were discovered within the cave, left behind by the native Khoikhoi bushman.
If you like whale watching, this is the perfect spot to do it. You can get to the cave by following the N2Gansbaai road. The trail starts at the Gansbaai harbour and winds along for approximately 7km.
For the less energetic, you can drive your Europcar hire all the way to the Walker Bay Nature Reserve leaving you with onlya short walk to the cave along the boardwalk. You should still be prepared to be a bit of climbing.
The boardwalk circles the site, and inside you can investigate a chamber that heads out to sea and a small corridor that goes to the main cave where the excavation site once was.
Woodstock Cave, Table Mountain
Devil’s Peak features a great horizontal crack in its mountainside…this is Woodstock cave. This is one of Table Mountain’s largest caves. It spans 50 m in width and stretches 15 m long.
You can get to this easily accessible cave fromTafelberg Road. You will find a metal gate about 100 meters off the tarred section of Tafelberg road and from here it should take you about an hour to reach the cave. As the trail zigzags its way along the mountain there’s much to see in terms of panoramic scenery and beautiful flowers, so be prepared for the hour to fly by.
Once inside the cave you will find some graffiti, and possibly even some signs of cult worshipping (don’t let this bother you), and if you’re visiting in winter you will see a beautiful cascading waterfall.
Visitors are warned to be safe and aware of potential muggers. Snakes can also make an appearance, so be alert.
Stadsaal Caves, Cedarberg
Stadsaal Caves are found in one of the country’s most beautiful wilderness landscape just a few hours north of Cape Town. Ancient rock formations, caverns, hollows…there’s something hauntingly beautiful about these caves (and the area too). Some say that before the National Party become powerful in 1948, this is where they met in secret.
What’s so beautiful about these caves is that they were entirely formed by nature and have been touched only by humans in the form of the ancient bushman paintings found on the walls inside.
Safety is a bit more ensured here as the area forms part of the Cape Nature Reserve which requires a paid entry permit for access. You can get your permit at the Driehoek Farm on the way. The average costs is R40 for kids and R70 for adults.
You can get there via the N7 to Citrusdal. Simply follow the signage from there to the Stadsaal caves.
More Caves in the Cape
While we would love to detail them all, we have to keep a few secrets! But in a whispered aside, ‘If you want to look up a few more interesting caves in the Cape area, check out these local favourites”
- Tartarus Caves, Muizenberg
- Elands Bay Cave, Elands Bay
- The Lookout Cave, Chapmans Peak
- Waenhuiskrans Cave, Arniston
Ready to get explore? Use our flight search feature to book cheap domestic flights across South Africa to get yourself to Cape Town. Don’t forget you can get great Europcar hire deals on the same site – it’s all incredibly user friendly and just a click or two away.