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Sudwala Caves – Natural and Historical Spectacle

If you live in South Africa then you probably need no introduction to the Sudwala Caves. These stunning caves and caverns are a major tourist attraction in South Africa and they enjoy both a natural and historical aspect that makes them extra special. The caves are said to be roughly 2 000 million years old. Filled with a dazzling array of stalagmites and stalactites, there is plenty to stare at in wide-eyed wonder. However, there is more to these well-known caves than just stunning natural cave formations. They are also interlinked with the history of the Swazi people.

The caves were probably first noticed by early man but it was during the 19th century that they were discovered by the Swazi people. Somquba, the son of King Sobhuza I, discovered the cave with his followers as he fled from his brother Mswati. He decided to stay here and he and his people built a village next to the cave’s entrance. Then, every time his brother arrived in search of him, Somquba and his people retreated to the caves and hid. Mswati tried to smoke them out numerous times but the attempts were unsuccessful. This may have been due to the constant flow of fresh air that can be found in the caves. The idea worked for quite sometime until one day, Mswati and his men struck suddenly, killing both Somquba and a number of his tribesmen. The survivors that decided to stay on lived under the headship of Sudwala – which is where the name of the caves comes from.

Today the caves are promoted as the ‘oldest known caves in the world’. The traces of fossilized algae which have been found here add further impetus to this fact. Whether you find algae interesting or not, the guided tour through the caves should be a part of any visitors travel plans when touring Mpumalanga. The impressive cave formations are absolutely breathtaking and make for a memorable tour. Not far from the caves you will find the PR Owen Dinosaur Park which houses full-scale replicas of these creatures. Guided tours are offered seven days a week between 8:30 and 16:30. Visit South Africa’s Sudwala Caves for a memorable and magical experience!