4.30 PM
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ZAR  

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Pickup info

Pick-up info: This tour/activity departs from the Swazi Trails office in Ezulwini. Free pick-up's are offered from nearby lodges and hotels, when logistically possible.  Pick-up's and drop-off's further afield may attract an additional charge. All pick-up's must be specifically pre-arranged in advance by "Special Request".

 

Booking notes

Up to 20 persons can be booked on one trip. For larger groups, we are able to facilitate split departures and/or a team build approach whereby equipment is shared between participants. Contact us directly for any special requests.

 

Adventure Caving is one of Swaziland's most famous adrenaline pursuits. It was listed at #125 in Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Adventures in 2013. Launched in April 1999, following the exploration of the unique Gobholo Cave system, Swazi Trails offer amateur explorers the opportunity to get underground in true speleological fashion. Headlamps, helmets, caving suits, muddy passages, bats and lots of total blackness are all part of the experience - ideal for first-timers, with shortage of challenges for experts too.  Experienced local guides make each trip entertaining, whilst ensuring that well-tested operating procedures mitigate against risks.

The caves were formed by an ancient crack in the granite landscape, which has been further opened and eroded into subterranean chambers by the passage of water. This is the only known major cave system in granite rock in Southern Africa and thus presents a unique geological experience.  Preliminary surveys indicate that it may potentially be the largest granite cave system in the world.

The Gobholo Cave can be compared to a giant underground gravel pile with cavers manoeuvring themselves like ants through the myriad of gaps and passageways. Care is maintained to stick to the known routes as large portions of the cave remain unexplored. A minor river flows through the bottom of the cave, which can only be reached by athletic and competent groups. The cave location is scenic with tall mountains and surrounding forested areas.

For a quick visual peek of what to expect visit the Swaziland Adventures section of our videos page. 

 

This booking tab is for evening departures. If you would prefer a morning departure, please click here .

 

  • Pickup location: 

    Pick-up info: This tour/activity departs from the Swazi Trails office in Ezulwini. Free pick-up's are offered from nearby lodges and hotels, when logistically possible.  Pick-up's and drop-off's further afield may attract an additional charge. All pick-up's must be specifically pre-arranged in advance by "Special Request".

     

  • Drop-off location: 

    Trips return to the Swazi Trails office at the Mantenga Craft Centre, Ezulwini. There is safe parking for vehicles. A hotel or lodge drop off in the Ezulwini, Mbabane and Manzini areas can be arranged at an additional charge.

    Free drop offs are often provided when logistically possible, especially for larger groups or for participants accommodated in the direction of the tour departure.

  • Pickup time: (4.30 PM)
  • Drop-off time: (9.30 PM)

Itinerary

Participants are required to meet at the Swazi Trails office at 16h15 for a 16h30 departure. A 20min shuttle in a closed vehicle is then provided to the Gobholo area. The cave is situated on private property. On arrival helmets, full-piece caving overalls and cap lamps are fitted at our base station. Thereafter participants enjoy a 2km (40-50 minute) forest walk to the cave. Bottled water is supplied. On arrival at the cave entrance a safety briefing is given and the trip heads underground for approximately 2hrs in total. The deepest distance travelled is 80m below the surface and the total distance travelled underground is about 800m. Progress underground is slow and methodical with teamwork required in a number of places. Belly crawls, body jams, crouches and guide-assisted scrambles are to be expected.

On returning to the surface a quick chocolate snack replenishes energy levels for the 30min walk back to the base station. Thereafter this evening departure includes an informal dinner (steaming hot pizzas), refreshments and a soothing dip in a nearby hot spring. Entry fees, snacks, the meal and refreshments are all included.

Return time is approximately 21h30. However, if the hot spring waters are too difficult to leave, then a later return can be arranged. The soothing warm waters are yours to enjoy.

 

Map

Map of Swaziland showing location of Swazi Trails offices

Cancellation Policy

- Cancellations made 21 days or more in advance of arrival will incur an administration fee of no more than 10% of the value of the amount paid.
- If cancelled within 14-20 days, 25% of the total price is forfeited.
- If cancellation takes place within 7-13 days, 50% of the total price is forfeited.
- If cancelled within 0-6 days, 100% of the total price is forfeited.

Children policy

Children under the age of 18 years old pay 50% of the adult price provided they are accompanied by two full-paying adults.

The trip can be undertaken by children as young as 8 years old, provided that they are well-disciplined and physically able. Children under 13 years must be accompanied by parents or a guardian.

 

Participant Guidelines

No prior experience is necessary to attempt this Swaziland caving adventure. All equipment is provided, including full-length overalls, helmets, LED cap lamps and safety gear. Trips are run by competent adventure guides who offer a thorough safety and technique briefing. 

All participants are required to sign a waiver and indemnity form before departure. Participants must be between the ages of 8 and 65 years old. Minors (under 18 years old) require the written consent of a parent or guardian. All participants must be of sound health. Obese persons are not encouraged to participate.

A strong pair of leather boots is ideal, but running shoes are also useable, as long as the sole has good traction. Slops or sandals are unsuitable. Shorts and a T-shirt are advised for wearing under the caving overalls which are supplied by Swazi Trails. A swimming costume and towel should be brought by those wishing to enjoy the hot spring swim on the return journey. No valuables are to be brought along on trips. This area falls outside of malaria zones and precautions are not necessary.

 Note: those who prefer not to eat pizza can order a vegetable stir-fry with rice as an alternative meal.

Other Disclosures

Participants are warned that this is an active and participative adventure pursuit and that considerable effort and physical activity is to be expected. Caves are inherently dangerous places to visit with possible exposure to unprotected pits, slippery surfaces, loose boulders and the danger of dislodged stones. Like all high-risk sports these risks can be minimized through well-tested operating procedures, so as to make Adventure Caving a challenging, but enjoyable experience.

Participants should also be aware of the fact that caves are known to house histoplasmosis, a fever-causing fungus that infects the lungs and causes flu-type symptoms. This is treatable and is similar to tick-bite fever. Persons with low resistance to infection, such as caused by HIV are warned of this risk. To date there have been no confirmed reports of infection from participants on these Swazi Trails-led excursions.

All guides are handpicked and competent in safety measures and first aid. Full medical assistance is found within 20 minutes drive of our base station.