Five Of The Coolest Caves To Explore In And Around Cape Town
We must start here with a shout out to the team over at Inside Guide, who have a habit of uncovering some of our city’s hidden gems.
Over the course of the last few months they’ve run through some of the Cape’s finest camping spots (HERE), braai spots (HERE) and beaches (HERE), and now they’ve turned their attention to caves in and around our province.
The thing about caves is that they’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, what with the darkness and the cramped spaces and the potential for bats, but if you can stomach all of that there’s plenty to see.
The full list consists of 10 caves, but we’ve handpicked five that are in close proximity to the City Bowl:
Found above Kalk Bay, Boomslang Cave is particularly good for less-experienced cave explorers and hikers. This easy-to-moderate two-hour hike offers the chance to test yourself with some novice caving, as it leads through the belly of the mountain for about a 100 metres, or so.
Why we love it For the amazing views – including of the colourful Kalk Bay harbour below – and the wonderful scenery and vegetation, such as the beautiful Echo Valley.
What lies within Many bats call this cave home – so please help protect these little guys by keeping the sound and disturbance level to a minimum. Near its entrance, you’ll find another smaller cave, White Dome Grotto; while inside, you will discover a labyrinth of tunnels.
Easily discernible from De Waal Drive, this cave is impressive in its size, and forms a long horizontal crack in the Devil’s Peak mountainside. Access it via Tafelberg Road or Rhodes Memorial; both are moderate hikes and take roughly an hour (one-way).
Why we love it It is one of the largest caves in Table Mountain – 50 metres wide, and going 15 metres deep. It allows for some fun cave exploration and, indeed, startlingly beautiful scenery and lovely flower-spotting on the way up.
What lies within Woodstock Cave bears graffiti, and during winter, a waterfall cascades from its upper lip. Sometimes, apparently, it is used for religious gatherings…
WATCHMAN’S CAVE, LION’S HEAD
This quaint little cave, above Lion’s Head’s busy main path, makes for the perfect picnic spot where you can watch the setting sun and the rising moon. It’s an easy cave to get to, and makes for stunning pictures of the path winding up Signal Hill towards Lion’s Head. So bring your friends, pack some snacks and trek away.
Why we love it The spectacular views of Signal Hill and the harbour are simply breathtaking from the cave. Take a moment to absorb the natural beauty and the summer sun.
What lies within Although the cave is small, it offers plenty of protection from the rain and wind, and there’s enough floor space for a small picnic.
PEERS CAVE, FISH HOEK
Above the Fish Hoek dunes you’ll find a great overhang of incredible rock faces, which forms part of Peers Cave. The hike up is easy (and roughly 20 minutes), but as you reach the top it becomes more rocky and the path less defined. Once inside, hikers are protected from the northeasterly winds, so pack a picnic and enjoy the stunning view of Noordhoek and beyond, towards the dazzling sea.
Why we love it For its fascinating history: it was named after Victor Peers who, with his son, excavated the cave in 1927 and found a roughly 13 000-year-old human skull.
What lies within You might be able to find remnants of sea shells, as during excavations, shells were found deep in the cave that are usually only found 5km into the ocean.
THE LOOK-OUT CAVE, CHAPMAN’S PEAK DRIVE
You may have driven Chapman’s Peak Drive many times without ever knowing about this secret spot, though it lies just beneath one of the Cape’s major tourist attractions. The mountain pass is renowned for its coastal views, and a visit to the designated lookout point is a must on most visitors’ to-do lists, but only those willing to venture off the beaten track will find the best lookout point of all: an opening in the mountainside where you can enjoy the ocean views from a point of solitude.
Why we love it Gazing out over the vast expanse of ocean from the side of a road is all well and good, but doing so from the side of a cliff is even better. From this vantage point, it almost feels like you could climb down and go for a swim (though attempting to do so is obviously not recommended).
What lies within There’s enough space to enjoy a picnic with one hell of a view, especially if you’re lucky enough to be here at sunset.
As if you needed another reason to visit the beautiful Hout Bay, right?
Happy caving, everyone – just please remember to take home your litter and, if possible, don’t go causing a wildfire.
You can see the five other caves covered over HERE.
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