Wonderwerk Cave – An Underground Miracle
For a truly unique cave visit, try the Wonderwerk Cave in Kuruman. These stunning caves are roughly 139 meters deep and incredibly big. The entrance to the cave alone is so big that a wagon and an entire team of oxen can not only enter but turn around in it too. The term ‘wonderwerk’ is Afrikaans for ‘miracle’ – a truly apt description of this stunning natural phenomenon. The caves are situated roughly 43 km south of Kuruman, just off the Danielskuil or Kimberly Road. It is located on the Wonderwerk farm and is relatively easy to find.
On arriving at the cave the first thing you will notice – besides the caves immense size – is that the cave’s history is colorfully displayed in the information centre that can be found here. The cave is a national heritage site due to its role in discovering the human and environmental history of the area. This history spans thousands of years and forms the core of the tours through the cave. The reason its entrance is so large is that it has been exposed by hillside erosion. It runs all the way to the base of the nearby foothill on the eastern side of the Kuruman Hills. Inside you will find beautiful stratified dolomitic limestone. Research into bedrock from the front of the cave has revealed that the cave has long been used by humans and this makes is one of the longest inhabited caves on the planet. A number of fossils thought to date back hundreds of thousands of years have been excavated and archaeological investigations, which began here in the 1940s, continue at the site. All work is overseen by the McGregor Museum in Kimberly as has been the case since 1978 and much information regarding the caves can be found in this museum.
Some of the most interesting items which have been found in the Wonderwerk Cave include stone tools, grass and shrubs used for bedding, animal bones and rock paintings. Evidence of the use of red ochre, quartz crystals and colored river pebbles as body decorations has also been found. To find out more about these stunning caves you would simply have to visit them for yourself. So the next time you are in Kuruman, South Africa, visit the Wonderwerk Caves. It will be time well spent.