Inanke Cave

Great Cave of Inanke - Great Inanke Cave

Useful Information

Location: Matobo National Park.
(-20.541826, 28.606062)
Open: No restrictions.
Accompanied hikes, with an armed game scout are available from Maleme Rest Camp.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
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.


1918 initial excavations of Bambata Cave by George Arnold and Neville Jones.
2003 inscribed into UNESCO WHL.


The Matobo National Park has numerous abris and shelters, which were used by the local San, commonly called Bushmen, for cave paintings. When visiting the cave you should hire a guide from ZPWMA. To rech the "trailheads" a 4x4 is required. Also prepare carefully, the weather is arid, hot an dry, bring sun protection and enough water, wear appropriate shoes.

The biggest and most interesting cave is Inanke Cave, accessible by a 7 km/three-hour hike from Toghwana Dam. It is said to be the very best rock art site in Zimbabwe, with the complete range of animals including eland, giraffe, fish, zebra and kudu, ostrich and duiker. All colours available to the San artists are used here, many are displayed in subtle polychrome shades. The remote location is a blessing, it protects the cave rather efficiently.

Bambata Cave is located in the west of the national park, west of the Kezi-Bulawayo road. It is named after Bambata Mountain, a dome-shaped granite mountain, which is one of the highest hills in Western Matopos. Located 90 m below the summit on the eastern side, the cave is invisible both from the surrounding valleys and the hill summit. It shows paintings of elephants, giraffes, warthogs, tsessebe and mongoose.

Nswatugi Cave is accessible from Circular Drive, west of Maleme Dam. Its paintings include giraffes, elephants and kudu.

Pomongwe Cave is located near Maleme Dam. Archaeological excavates revealed almost 40,000 stone tools. In the centre of the cave was the main fire-making area, where several hearths and the remains of game were found. The stone age diet includes hyrax and tortoise. The most accessible site is White Rhino Shelter, located at the main tarred road through the park near Gordon Park.