2 Day Overnight Cave Hike Suggestions

11 Mar 2019 14:59 #74750 by ameliabedelia
Hello, fellow adventurers!

I am looking for suggestions of your favourite overnight cave hikes in the Drakensberg (2 days).  I am organising a group of roughly 8 people, some of whom will be "caving" for the first time.  Fitness level is moderate.  We'd ideally like a 2 day hike that we can do in a weekend.

I have done Gxalingenwa, Tarn, Lakes, Zulu and Xeni Caves (each one of those a couple of times).

Does anyone have other, similar caves for us to try out?

Thanks so much!

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11 Mar 2019 19:19 #74753 by Nicolaas
I'd recommend Marble baths cave, but it has to be booked in advance. Regards, Nicolaas

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12 Mar 2019 11:20 #74761 by Dave
There are nice caves at Highmoor too. Aasvoelkrans Cave is really special.

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12 Mar 2019 12:27 #74764 by Riaang

So many options, so little time!!! :-)

Ok, firstly you have to decide if your group wants to spend time on the escarpment or not. It definitely takes a lot more out of you to get to the top in a day, but definitely worth it. However, if the group is slow or unfit you will have to sleep over in the lower berg.

For escarpment hiking the typical Mnweni pass/Rockeries loop is a great option. Sleep over Friday night at MCC, catch a taxi (R200 for the group) to drop you off about 3,5km down the dirt road (if you want to save time - assuming the taxi is on time!) and head up the Mnweni valley, up Mnweni pass and sleep over in Ledges cave or Mponjwane cave (I prefer Ledges). Next day down Rockeries back to MCC - you can also get a taxi to save the last 5km of dirtroad walking. Note - Mnweni has long walk-ins, so you will probably get home late on Sunday evening.

A nice trip up to the escarment is at Cathedral peak. Here it's only about 12km's from the hotel to the top, so much faster to get to the escarpment than in the Mnweni area. You can possibly make it 2 nights in caves if you sleep over in Ribbon falls cave on Friday night (under 5km's from the hotel to the cave), Sat up via the Camel and Organ Pipes pass to evernight at either Rolands cave (possibly scary approach - not to be done in inclement weather or if anyone has a fear of heights). There are alos 4 Ndumeni cave sto sleep over in, so you would have to split the group. Sunday same way down or via Organ pipes back down to Didima.

For lower berg caves you can always do Ribbon falls cave at Cathedral Peak, or Tseketseke hut. At Moncs Cowl you can go up Shada ridge to Wonder valley cave.  The walk down to get water is quite steep but there are nice pools to swim in. Injasuthi has Lower Injasuthi cave, Marble bath cave and Grindstone caves that makes a nice loop. Lots of water available. You could also consider sleeping over in Bannermans hut, between Injasuthi and Giants Castel.

2 days in the berg is (in my opinion) too short.  What we often do to stretch it a bit is to try and sleep over in a lower berg cave on Friday night, then at least you feel like you are spending more time in the mountains. However, if leve is an issue the above should surfice.


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12 Mar 2019 14:22 #74765 by ameliabedelia
Thank you so much for the great suggestions Riaang, Nicolaas & Dave!
Aasvoelkrans we have done before and I found it a bit short but what a great cave to spend a night in! 

I know 2 days is too short but leave is always tricky and it's hard to get into the mountains before dark on a Friday afternoon (we're based in Durban).  But thank you for those options.  Mnweni is an area we are eager to get into.  And we will definitely push for 3 day hikes anywhere we can.

Thanks again, everyone!
It's wonderful to have a community of hiking inspiration, advice and anecdotes.

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