Nelspruit and its natural surrounding areas are filled to the brim with natural attractions of all kinds. When staying at our Nelspruit accommodation, guests are in the perfect place from which to explore mountains, hiking trails, dams and caves.
If caving is your thing, a day trip on the Panorama Route will bring you to the famous Echo Caves. This National Monument can be found in the Molopong valley which is situated near Ohrigstad.
The Echo caves were discovered in the 1920’s, by the owner of the farm Klipfontein, while he was searching for water in the area. After searching the land in and around his farm extensively, he came upon the caves and saw that his cattle had already found the caves and the water source. The caves are among some of the oldest of their type in the world and are now a Historical Monument.
The best, and safest, way to explore the caves are by signing up for a guided day trip. Of all the limestone caves, the Echo caves are not that well known, so a visit there is rather a personal affair, sometimes making it just you and the guide on the tour.
Early History and Cave Features
The Echo Caves have been a shelter for humans since the Middle Stone Age. San rock engravings can still be viewed within the caves and can be seen alongside beautiful, ancient rock formations which have taken centauries to form.
The caves were given their name by the local people who used to use the stalactites as a drum which served as an early warning system when Swazi tribes were approaching. The caves are about 40km in depth, and the sound from drumming on the stalactites can be heard throughout the caves. The caves have an eerily feel when the stalactites are drummed and your guide will give the experience.
Today the stalactites and stalagmites can be comfortably viewed from walkways with staircases where needed as well as railings for your safety. Electric lights are fitted throughout the guided tour areas.
The height in one of the rooms is an amazing 60 meters and the caves also boast a chamber 100 meters long. Guides will take you 2 km into the caves and en route you will have the opportunity to view the stunning cave features of stalagmites, stalactites, columns and flowstones.
The Echo Caves have not been thoroughly walked through as yet and so we can only surmise where they end. Some think it ends close to the Strijdom Tunnel, but that is just a calculated guess. For those of us that are not claustrophobic, special tours can be arranged to go deeper into the caves.
When you have absorbed all there is to see inside the caves, be sure to take a look at the various shops close to the area and buy a few keepsakes to remember your time in the area.