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Part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Wonder Cave in Kromdraai 50km outside of Johannesburg is one of South Africa’s most spectacular caves open to the general public. The Wonder Cave is located within the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve (although not part of the reserve) which itself falls under the Cradle of Humankind UNESCO site.
Tours are conducted daily on the hour and visitors are required to take the 80-odd stairs to a platform then lowered into the vast chamber by means of an elevator. For the more adventurous, abseiling (rappelling) down the 18m drop from the platform into the cave is an alternate option.
Inside the 2.2 billion year-old 11ha cavern there are monstrous drip formations created by limestone dissolved through water action over eons, the largest formation of which is a 15m stalagmite calculated to weigh 50 tons. A rimstone pool holds crystal clear water in the northern section of the cave. Occasionally, water needs to be pumped out of the cave to allow visitors to enjoy their caving experience.
During the Witwatersrand gold rush of the 1880s, Italian miners blasted sections of the cave to recover limestone for the production of concrete and fortunately the activities ceased in 1902 before too much damage was done. Remnants of century-old mining equipment lie strewn on the cave floor.
Aside from its natural beauty, the Wonder Cave is also an important archaeological site. It is home too, for a tiny colony of horseshoe bats. Look out for white guano on the cave walls, a tell-tale sign of a bat roosting.
There is a small restaurant on the premises for light meals, a curio shop and braai (barbecue) facilities.
Let your imagination run wild as you stand in awe below the weird and wonderful stalagmite and stalactite formations of Wonder Cave.