Exploring a World below Ground

They say life begins at the end of your comfort zone and there is certainly something quite wild about being deep down in the pitch-black belly of the earth, exploring the wonder of an underground cave.

If you’re looking for something a little different, Wild Cave Adventures in the Cradle of Humankind offers the exploration adventure of a lifetime. Novice, as well as advanced cavers can experience an underground world few dare to try. It's no secret that caving is highly dangerous for the inexperienced and exploring some systems requires the combined skills of a rock climber and miner, which is why each excursion is run by an experienced guide who knows the cave tunnels well. For first-time cavers, the fear of the unknown is the drawcard and Wild Cave Adventures recommends that all novice cavers try out Bat Cave first. It’s important that the guides have a good idea of whether or not you will cope with the more advanced trips. But don’t be mistaken, Bat Cave is everything a wild cave can offer!

The highly trained Wild Cave Adventure guides, who are all super knowledgeable and passionate about this little piece of heritage area, will lead you every step of the way, starting out with a five-storey (17-metre) rope entry into Bat Cave through the roof of the cavern. Fully kitted out in overalls, and equipped with helmets, headlamps, torches and harnesses, you will do a little climbing, a little clamouring, a little crawling, a little mud face-painting and about one and a half hours later, emerge in an exhilarating exit on a steel rope ladder, back to the world above ground.

Now for the dirty underground details – yes, it’s scary and very, very dark – the kind where you can’t see a hand in front of you and you hang onto your trusted headlamp for dear life. Dare you decide to face your fears and turn it off for a thrill, you’re in for an all-consuming darkness that's difficult to prepare for. It’s also pretty wet down there. In fact, the drops that run over the rock face are said to take about six months to work their way from the surface. And, if you stop for a minute and listen, you’ll hear the trickle of water into pools you cannot see. A hundred years ago, Bat Cave was full of calcified lime-rich deposits that took thousands of years to form and only one stick of dynamite to remove, when Miners raped the cave for the lime. But the water will continue to drip down from the surface, as it always has, and the stalactite and stalagmite formations will grow back again over time.

It’s a truly magical experience to know that under our feet is a place so complex, so quiet, so tranquil, so still. And one that also boasts some incredible structures, a raw natural beauty, lifetimes of history and lots of bats!

It’s a truly magical experience to know that under our feet is a place so complex, so quiet, so tranquil, so still. And one that also boasts some incredible structures, a raw natural beauty, lifetimes of history and lots of bats! You don’t see them during the day but stand in the main tunnel at 6pm and it's like bat rush hour! Let’s also not underestimate the adrenalin surges brought on by those tight squeezes and that moment when you begin to exit the cave, where you suddenly shift from darkness to light. Cavers call this ‘the twilight zone’ and many of them are hooked to caving for that very moment when the sky pours in through the roof.

You may not be a dedicated caver, but if you’re wild at heart and happy to leave your designer gear at home and get down and dirty, then this great adventure, fit for the whole family, will almost always end with huge smiles, dusty faces and fun, happy memories.

If you’re claustrophobic, this one’s definitely not for you. But Wild Cave Adventures also offers a range of ‘above-the-ground’ adventures too!

For more information and to book, visit Wildcaves.co.za