Sudwala Caves & Dinosaur Park
Mpumalanga's Sudwala Caves are the oldest known caves in the world, and a must see for visitors to the Mpumalanga Highlands. They are found in the heart of a majestic mountain known as Mankelexele (Rock upon rock). Situated in Pre-cumbrian dolomite rock of the Malmani Group (which formed over a period of some 3,000 million years), the walls of the caves capture in stone a time when the area was covered by warm shallow seas, including fossils of the first oxygen producing plants on earth, Collenia.
The Sudwala Caves are dominated by a vast chamber called The Amphitheatre. Able to seat over 500 people, and with a stream of fresh, cool air from an unknown source, this chamber, which soars 37 metres to the peak of a dome-like feature in its roof, has hosted numerous operas and dramas since the famous Russian singer, Ivan Rebroff, tested the suitability of the big hall for concert purposes in 1970.
The growth rate for a stalactite at the Sudwala Caves is approximately 2,5cm in a hundred years. Keep an eye out for amazing rock formations such as The Lowveld Rocket, a column approximately 150 million years old; The Screaming Monster (+/- 160 million years old) and Samson's Pillar (+/-200 million years old). The age of these formations is geologically determined by the "Rhebedium Stronptium" test, which measures the radioactive decay of formations.
Visitors can explore the caves on two tours:
Cave Tour: This one hour tour is suitable for everyone - young and old. A tour guide will take you on an informative and fun tour of spacious, well lit chambers with good air-flow which comes from an as yet, unknown source!
The five hour Crystal Tour is a once in a lifetime experience for the really adventurous. The tour takes you 2,000 meters into the cave to the outskirts of the crystal chamber, with its splendid array of sparkling aragonite crystals. The route is moderately difficult, meaning there are stretches of crawling through tunnels, some of which contain water, so you must be prepared to get a little wet!
Please note that children under the age of 16 years cannot undertake The Crystal Tour. Also, people who suffer from claustrophobia, and those who are very rotund should be wary of participating, as anyone too wide is at risk of getting stuck!
The Crystal Tour normally takes place on the first Saturday of each month. It accommodates groups of 30 people at a time and therefore it is a good idea to book well in advance. Private tours for a minimum number of 10 people can be arranged for any other day at the same cost.
There are safe and convenient parking facilities available.
Adults: R 80.00
Pensioners: R 65.00
Children under 16ys: R 40.00
Kids under 5: Free
Crystal Tour: R280 per person / Deposit - R140
Discount to groups of 10 and more
(Please note that rates may vary)
The Sudwala Dinosaur Park
The Dino Park is situated right next to the Sudwala Caves
and allows children to see dinosaurs up close.
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