Adventure Caving - day trip
Adventure Caving is one of Swaziland's most famous adrenaline pursuits. Launched in April 1999, following the exploration of the unique Gobholo Cave system, Swazi Trails now offer amateur explorers the opportunity to get underground in true speleological fashion. Headlamps, battery packs, muddy passages, bats and lots of total blackness are all part of the experience - ideal for first-timers, as well as dedicated spelunking experts.
The caves were formed by an ancient boulder choke which has been further opened and eroded into subterranean chambers by the passage of water through softer rock material. This is the only known major cave system in granite rock in Southern Africa and thus presents a unique geological experience. The system can be compared to a giant underground gravel pit, with cavers manoeuvring themselves like ants through the myriad of gaps and passageways. Care has to be maintained to stick to the known routes, as 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 glimpse of what to expect visit the Swaziland Adventures section of our videos page.
This booking tab is for morning departures. If you would prefer an evening departure including dinner, please click here.
Participants are required to register at the Swazi Trails office 30 min in advance of departure (08h30) to fit helmets, uniforms and cap lamps. Trips start with a 15 min journey in a closed vehicle to a point approximately 2 km (30-45 minute walk) from the cave. The cave is situated on private property. On arrival at the cave entrance a safety briefing is given and the trip heads underground for approximately 2 hours in total. The deepest distance travelled is 90 m 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 rope-assisted scrambles are to be expected.
On returning to the surface, snacks (chocolates and peanuts) and refreshments are enjoyed before tackling the half-hour walk back. Snacks and refreshments are all inclusive. A massage with access to the indoor spa bath and sauna can be booked for after the adventure caving at a nearby hot spring. This is an additional charge - but great value for a 45 minute full body massage.
Return time is approximately 13h00. However, this is dependent on group travelling speed.
No prior experience is necessary to attempt this Swaziland caving adventure. All equipment is provided, including full-length overalls, helmets, sealed lead-gel 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. Minors (under 18 years) 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 T-shirt are advised for wearing under the caving overalls (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 malarial zones and precautions are not necessary.
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, 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 the vehicle.
If children under the age of 18 years are accompanied by two paying adults, they will be charged 50% of the tour or adventure activity rate.
For Swazi Trails operated services, 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 within 7-13 days, 50% of the total price is forfeited, if within 0-6 days, 100% of the total price is forfeited.
Book for more than 20 people, contact us directly
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".
Download a Map of Ezulwini showing location of Swazi Trails office