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LOCAL TIME: 06:48 pm | Friday, 22 March
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The Wonder Cave, Kromdraai, Cradle of Humankind

The Wonder Cave in the Kromdraai Conservancy is described as the prettiest cave in South Africa.

Situated within the perimeter of the Rhino and Lion Reserve inside the Cradle of Humankind Heritage area, the millions of years old limestone cave is filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, also called ‘drip formations’, that many say rival those of the better known Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn on the other side of the country. Hourly tours are conducted on illuminated pathways and you can walk throughout with no crawling or squeezing through small passageways, but be aware of the resident bat population. Entrance to the cave is via a lift.

The single cave chamber of the Wonder Cave has an impressive volume of 46000 cubic metres, and more than lives up to its name. The lit up stalactites are truly ‘wondrous to behold’, and it’s worth a moment to stop and think about where all this splendour comes from: The dolomite limestone was laid down millions of years ago by coral in warm, shallow seas, and the caves, and the formations within, have been formed over millions of years of water seepage and drip, drip, drip…

To stand inside a cave like the Wonder Cave is to stand inside an incredibly ancient past and to marvel at how the Earth has changed.

Caught forever in that change are the fossils of ancient animal, plants and hominids (or “ape-men”) – the forerunners of modern humans. The Wonder Cave has yielded many such fossilized and paleontological treasures, as have all the other 12 excavation sites on the Cradle of Humankind reserve.

The Wonder Cave is marketed as “the most nicely decorated cave in South Africa” due to the beauty of the calcite cave ‘pearls’ found in the cave (formed when the limestone coats a grain of sand with calcium, much the same way as normal pearls are formed), 15m drip formations and rim pools.

There is a picnic area, kiosk shop and a restaurant outside the cave.

Besides the hourly day tours, abseiling and evening tours are available, though these must be booked in advance. Hours: Monday to Friday 08:00 to 17:00; Saturday and Sunday: 08:00 to 18:00.

For more info and to book abseiling and evening tours.

Getting there: The Wonder Cave is situated at Kromdraai within the Rhino and Lion Reserve at The Cradle of Humankind. From JHB and Pretoria the R28/N14 (Pretoria / Krugersdorp) highway. Travel for approx. 9km along the N14 till you see the sign for Kromdraai on your right. Turn right and continue for another 7km to the entrance of the Rhino and Lion Reserve.

More info on the quaint town of Krugersdorp More info on the West Rand area