Things To Do in Monks CowlZulu Cave Hike
Where? Monks Cowl, Drakensberg, KwaZulu Natal
When? Daylight Hours.
How? Call +27 (0)33 330-6125
How much? Price on request
Start: Monk's Cowl / Mdedelelo Wilderness Area, northern Drakensberg
Finish: Mdedelelo Wilderness Area
Fitness: moderate to difficult
Our tip: Cat cave lies roughly 400 metres away along a stream, popular for the number of San paintings still in good condition (because of this you may not overnight)
Most of the overhangs that function as caves in the Drakensberg are a result of erosion in the Clarens sandstone over thousands of years. Many served as shelters for the San people, before the arrival of the white man.
The caves remain, even though the people who left many examples of rock art behind them are sadly gone.
Zulu cave lies on the other side of a great dome edifice from Vaalribbokkop cave. The dome, also known as Vaalribbokkop, stands 30 metres high and functions as a landmark on many of the trails in the area.
Both caves lie on the summit of the Little 'berg.
One reaches Zulu cave in several ways: the most popular route is up Hlatikulu Nek from Monk's Cowl camp; for a route that takes in a number of rock pools en route, follow the southern ridge from Hlatikulu Nek to the camp sites on the Mhlwazini River, below Eagle Gorge, heading back up the valley; and for a longer hike, include Zulu cave in a loop from Monk's Cowl camp or a northern loop from Cathederal Peak.
What makes Zulu cave popular is its proximity to the lower 'Berg peak known as Gatberg. And the fact that even in a downpour, the cave remains dry, whilst the trees and bush keep most of the wind out of the overhang.
It is also a particularly beautiful overhang, the back of which is almost hidden by trees and bush and it lies alongside an indigenous forest.
A waterfall drops over the overhang at the cave's lowest point into a pool below, although if it rains this becomes something of a cascade.