Things To Do in UnderbergSleeping Beauty Cave and Engagement Cave Hike
Where? Start at the Garden Castle Wilderness Area entrance in the Drakenberg.
When? Daylight hours
How? Call +27 (0)33 845-1999
How much? Price on request
Start: Garden Castle Wilderness Area entrance
Finish: Garden Castle
Duration: 8 km, roughly 5 hours
Fitness: fairly fit, although this hike is perfect for families with children
Our tip: both caves are an ideal base from which to hike Walker's Pass and the Hidden Valley
This is one of the shorter hikes in the southern Drakensberg and comprises a hike from the entrance to Garden Castle, followed by a scramble upwards of about 240 metres to the Sleeping Beauty cave that lies above the trail.
The walk to the cave is fairly easy. It is the last section, up a series of wooden steps, that is steep. But the family will spend quite a bit of time at various rock pools, or exploring the interesting rock features en route. Which means it can take quite a lot longer than anticipated, so leave timeously if you intend overnighting in the cave.
If you do overnight you will need to book the cave with the KZN Wildlife Office.
When you reach it, you will discover that the cave is rather enormous. Through it winds a little stream (which can dry up during winter) and there is plenty of flat rock space on which to sleep, although it can be damp so take ground sheets or plastic along.
If it is privacy that you are after, then further upstream, and across the valley from the Sleeping Beauty Cave, is another smaller cave that accommodates around four hikers and is a warmer option for the colder months. Sleeping Beauty Cave, as wonderful as it is, does not receive much sun due to large bits of rock that block the cave's entrance.
Only about 700 metres upstream from Sleeping Beauty cave, off in a side gully, is Engagement Cave. It is a little tricky to reach and sleeps four at a push, but its major advantages are that it offers protection from the elements and is secluded.