Echo Caves


Image: Image by Andre Grove, with kind permission.

Useful Information

Location: At the top of the Molopong Valley in Mpumalanga. 26km from Ohrigstad, on the road to Abel Erasmus Pass.
Open: All year daily 8:30-16.
[2010]
Fee: Adults ZAR 50, Children (3-12) ZAR 20, Children (0-3) free, Students ZAR , Family (2+2) ZAR .
Groups (40+): Adults ZAR 35, School Pupils ZAR 20, only after appointment.
[2010]
Classification:  Karst cave.
Light: electric.
Dimension:  
Guided tours: L=800m, D=60min, Largest chamber: L=100m, H=40m.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Echo Caves, Isaac E Stegman Reserve, Krugersdorp 1739, Tel: +27-11-9566342 or +27-1323-80072.
Poastal address: Echo Caves, PO Box 481, Krugersdorp 1740.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
Last update:$Date: 2015/08/30 21:59:40 $

History

 
1923discovered by the owner of the Klipfonteinhoek farm.
1959opened to the public.

Image: Image by Andre Grove, with kind permission.

Description

Echo Caves was discovered by the owner of the Klipfonteinhoek farm who was searching for water. He realized, that some of his cattle mysteriously disappeared and he looked after it. The animals went into the cave to drink. Obviously he was not the first to discover it, the cave contained numerous archaeologic remains, implements and tools from the Middle and Late Stone Age, and the earlier Iron Age. Many of the findings are on display in the museum near the cave entrance which is called Museum of Man. The cave was declared a National Monument.

The cave was opened to the public in 1959. It was developed after the construction of the Abel Erasmus Pass and the Strijdom Tunnel nearby. The new road caused an increase of travellers to this area, which made this tourist venture possible. Today the cave is located in an are of great tourist interest in the northern region of the Drakensberg range. There is the Panorama Route along the Blyde River Canyon and the Great Escarpment with God's Window viewpoint. The best time to travel this area are the dry winter months (JUN to AUG) because the escarpment forms a barrier for the clouds bringing a lot of mist and rain. But despite its location, this cave is not on the major tourist routes, especially it it is not on the schedule of tour operators. As a result it is much less frequented and the visit is more tranquil.

There are numerous legends about the cave, one of them explaining the name. Once the local people used one of the stalactites as a drum to warn of approaching Swazi. The caves, extending for some 40km, were transporting the sound for very long distances. As a result the people were warned and took refuge in the cave. A funny story, but typically for stories about mysterious caves, it is also phantastic. The cave is not 40km long, sound does not travel over long distances underground, and nobody has been able to reproduce this phantastic accoustic experiment. However, stalactites produce sound when hit, and there is such a statlactite which is close enough to the surface to be heard outside.

Another legend is even more curious. It tells about men with long white robes, who came in search of gold and to trade with the indegneous people. We have no idea what the timeframe is, what people wear white robes, and how much of the legend is based on real history.

The cave also offers spelunking tours after appointment for small groups. There are hotel rooms and a youth hostel with decent prices on site.


See also


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