Our Nelspruit lodge is in the perfect location to see all kinds of exciting natural attractions and small, historic towns. One of the must visit attractions is the Sudwala Caves.
Facts About the Sudwala Caves
A short drive from Nelspruit, on the N4, lies a place that has chanted and intrigued people for centuries; the Sudwala Caves. These are some of the facts about this natural wonder.
- The caves were formed by natural acid in the underground, which seeped out and dissolved the rocks. The Sudwala Caves are a mixture of dolomite rock, chert and limestone.
- From an unknown source, cool air keeps the caves at a temperature of 17˚C all year round.
- The caves are dominated by a spectacular chamber that has been named the Amphitheatre. The peak in this area is 37 meters and the diameter is 70 meters. This natural Amphitheatre has been used many times as a venue for musicians and drama performances, as it seats 500 people.
- The rocks that form the Malmani Ridge, where the Sudwala Caves are found, date back 4600 million years, when the area was settled beneath the waters of a warm shallow sea.
- Some of the striking formations in the caves are millions of years old. A Rubidium Strontium test was performed on the formations to determine their age.
- Stalactites, which are pointed formations that hang from the ceiling are formed from drops of water. An amazing fact to consider while looking at these is that the growth of a stalactite is 2.5 cm per century.
- The drops that end up on the floor of the cave slowly grow up and these are calls stalagmites. Stalagmites and stalactites are seen throughout the caves. Some of the most spectacular formations to be seen are “Samson’s Pillar”, said to be about 200 million years old, the “Screaming Monster”, said to be 160 million years old, and the “Rocket” said to be about 140 million years old.
- A colony of about 800 Horseshoe Bats can be found throughout the cave system. Flying at a speed of 20 kph these bats leave the caves at about 7 pm and fly in a radius of 200km around the area to feed on insects, mostly mosquitos. These bats present no threat to humans. Bats are nocturnal and will just be seen hanging from the ceiling of the cave during daylight hours.
- While at the Sudwala Caves do take the time to visit their Fish Spa. This fun spa requires you to place your feet in a pond that is filled with Garra Ruffa Fish. These little guys will gently nibble away any dead skin on your feet. They are toothless and about the size of minnows. A fish pedicure will not only leave your feet soft and smooth but it is also a great stress reliever, as their gentle nibbling tinkles so most of their customers end up with the giggles.
- Another interesting visit while at the Sudwala Caves is the Butterfly Dome. This project was developed to increase the butterfly populations. No butterflies were bought and placed here, although eggs of the butterflies that do end up here are collected and placed in the dome on their host plant. The scary truth is that in nature, of the 500 eggs butterflies lay, only two will make it to adults. The idea of the Butterfly Dome is that the eggs laid here are protected. Once the butterflies emerge they are released into the wild.