About Sudwala Caves

Not only are the Sudwala caves near Nelspruit regarded as the oldest known caves in the world but the caves rest in Pre-cambrian dolomite rocks that are also amongst the second oldest known sedimentary rocks on Earth.

Did you know? The Sudwala Caves are dominated by an enormous chamber called The Amphitheatre which can seat over 500 people.

Imagine a system of caves over 30 kilometres in length, of which only 600 metres is accessible, that date back 3 000 million years to a time when incredible stresses cracked the dolomite of the Mankelekele Mountains (also spelt Makelexele) - part of the Drakensberg escarpment that separates the highveld from the lowveld of the Mpumalanga Province - allowing water to slowly trickle, forming a series of passages through the rocks.

The result: an incredible array of mighty chambers studded with giant examples of stalactites, stalagmites and flowstone formations - The Sudwala Caves. Not only are the Sudwala caves regarded as the oldest known caves in the world but the caves rest in Pre-cambrian dolomite rocks that are also amongst the second oldest known sedimentary rocks on Earth. At the base of a gigantic cliff face close to the caves, is the Sudwala rainforest, the recipient of gentle trickles of water over the cliff face.

The Sudwala series of caves are dominated by a roughly circular chamber, 70 metres in diameter with a height of 37 metres - the PR Owen hall - known also as the amphitheatre because of its natural acoustics and ‘air conditioning’ provided by a constant source of air from outside, the source of which is unknown.

The hour long tours that lead one 600 metres and 150 metres underground on a return route are incredibly interesting and provide worthwhile photo opportunities in the spacious well lit chambers.

There is also a crystal tour for the more adventurous, which involves an excursion into the bowels of the earth, 2000 metres into the cave, to a crystal chamber with dazzling examples of sparkling aragonite crystals – a once in a lifetime experience, that admittedly involves stretches of crawling through tunnels, some of which contain water.

Need to Know

WhereSudwala Caves, R539, Nelspruit, Lowveld Legogote, Mpumalanga, South Africa

WhenMonday to Sunday from 08h30 to 16h30.

Telephone+27 (0)83 446-0228

OvernightStay in Nelspruit Accommodation, Mpumalanga

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