Explore the History of Oldest Known Caves to Man - the Mpumalanga Sudwala Caves

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Renowned as the discovery site of some of the first pieces of evidence of human habitation in the world, we explore the history of oldest known caves to man, the Mpumalanga Sudwala Caves. Home to stone age utensils dating as far back as the early Stone Age era from around 2,5 million years ago spanning until the late Stone Age era up to a few thousand years BC, the Sudwala Caves boast an impressive collection of artefacts and historic relics that tell a wondrous story about the history of humankind.

Said to have formed when the Southern Hemisphere, the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian sub-continent were still joined together in the supercontinent known as Gondwanaland, the Sudwala Caves came about as a result of acidic groundwater seeping through the cracks of bedrock. With a growth rate of just 2.5cm per year, the giant stalactites, stalagmites and flowstones reflect an incredible tale told throughout their lifetime, putting perspective into their incredible journey of being.

While only a small percent of the 30km expansive cave system is accessible to man, a number of impressive chambers host to ancient rock formations can be viewed when paying a visit to the Sudwala Caves. Used as a shelter by prehistoric man, by far the most impressive feature of the caves has to be the mighty and mysterious amphitheatre.

Spanning 70m in diameter, the natural arena reaches a staggering 37m high and receives a rush of cool fresh air from an unknown ventilation source. The domed roof creates natural acoustics making the amphitheatre the ideal location for many spectacular concerts including the 2012 Innibos performances by South African artist Chris Chameleon along with the stunning harmonics of the Drakensburg Boys Choir.During the 19th century the caves were inhabited by the Swazi People, and saw many a bloody battle during the fight for the Swazi throne.

Later the Sudwala caves also featured in legend said to have been the hiding place of the Kruger Millions including bullion and state treasure of gold sovereigns that unaccountably vanished in 1900.Home to some 800 Horseshoe bats, the caves are not only known for their plated treasures but mineral deposits too.

Following the end of the second South African War, in 1914 prospectors began to excavate the many tons of bat guano used as compost by the surrounding farmers and continued on to establish a lucrative business venture farming off the million year old caves.Today, considered a tourism gem, visitors now enjoy the Suwala Caves for their cultural heritage and prehistoric history, protected and preserved as a natural wonder in the province of Mpumalanga.

Visitors can participate in one of two cave tours namely the hour long venture 600 metres into the cave system, some 150m under the surface of the ground. Discover various geographic features beautifully lit and expertly guided by one of the informed tour guides.

For the more adventurous, the Crystal Tour takes visitors 200 metres into the heart of the Sudwala Cave system into a crystal chamber encrusted by stunning aragonite crystals. From wading through water, clambering through rocky passageways and crawling through small openings, this 4 hour tour leaves

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