About Rat Hole Cave Hike

Start: Mnweni area, northern Drakensberg
Finish: Mnweni area, northern Drakensberg
Find it: a stone's throw from the top of Fangs Pass
Fitness: moderate to difficult
Our tip: if you are at all interested in caves, then this is one to visit

Described as one of the most intriguing caves in the Drakensberg, Rat hole cave is a deep and narrow tunnel only about 7 m long and 1 m wide. To top this narrowness, it is also only 1 m high, but wider at the back of the cave than in front.

It lies between Fangs and Mbundini Passes and looks out over the Mbundini Abbey and the Madonna, directly opposite Skylight Cave (a cave that has a gap in its roof, hence its name).

It lies in the Mnweni area – one of the most beautiful places in the Drakensberg. To the north is eastern-Buttress, Devil's tooth and Inner Tower, to the south Cathedral Peak, Bell, Mitre and the Chessmen.

Mnweni has various passes, each of them strenuous.

Rat hole cave is used as an overnight cave on hikes such as the Drakensberg Grand Traverse and the Sentinal to Cathedral Peak hike.

Sleeping is something of an art, however. Because of its narrowness hikers can only crawl into it without a pack on (packs are left at the mouth of the cave).

It fits about three or four hikers in at a time, and if you suffer from claustrophobia at all, then make sure you sleep near the mouth of the cave.

The back bit of the cave curves away from the entrance, which means that those who brave this part of the cave cannot see the entrance, and it gets really dark.

Having said that, it is also extremely snug, warm and comfortable, and provides good shelter from the weather. As a 'sleeping hole' you cannot do better.

The cave lies five minutes' from the escarpment edge with some of the most incredible views over the 'berg at sunrise.

If the description has scared you, rather than intrigued you, then rather head to Fangs Cave, fairly close to Rat Hole cave and as sheltered, more spacious, but rather difficult to find.

Need to Know

WhereStart and finish in Mnweni area, northern Drakensberg, KwaZulu Natal

WhenBest during daylight hours.

How muchFree

OvernightStay nearby in Mweni Valley, in KwaZulu Natal


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