HIKING THE WHITE CAVES

19/20 August 2000

Meeting at Bushmans Nek Nature Reserve, we, being Graham, Gretha, a not so healthy Bushy, Mathew, Keith, Margaret, Graham, Penny and Dave, set off for Whites Cave around 09:00 on a fair Saturday morning. The start was steep and trying on the legs so early in the morning but gradually eased up as we crossed the fire ravaged ground, which actually made walking real easy.

 

Once we had reached the first summit, it was down, but not too far into the valley with the radio point on our left and heading for a peak far off in the distance. The walking was at a good pace with no hitches. We stopped up near Painters cave with the most stunning San paintings of horses prancing and kicking their hind legs in the air. This was a good break to recover and proceed with the rest of the uphill pull. The climb levelled off a bit as we approached rocky outcrops with huge stone weathered potholes and ledges.

Circling above us were two large Maribou storks which were nesting in the rocky outcrops. We stood in awe as we watched them circling with such grace.

Whites cave was just around the corner and we arrived there around 2:30pm. The roof of the cave being quite high and long with plenty of cool running water cascading over the ceiling of the cave to one side. It was really refreshing to have water so close - apparently a great pool in the warmer weather. We all collapsed for a few minutes, found a spot and then did a bit of exploring before settling down for the evening. It had been a great day’s hike and the smell of supper was soon in the air. According to Dave’s thermometer it was 100C - not too bad. Once in "bed" the stars were out and so were we.

 

The early morning sun crept over the rocky overhang turning it to a beautiful pink colour. Everyone was up by 07:00 Sunday morning tucking into breakfast and then packing for our return which took us on a gradual stroll down and round the hill once again to see the storks nesting and the baboons barking down on the ledge below us. We stopped at White Horse cave to see the painting of the white horse as well as other exquisite San paintings. We proceeded back at a steady pace and then climbed steeply to intercept the original path after cutting off our previous days lunch spot. We caught a quick breather at the bottom of the hillside where we decided to see Langalibalele Cave and then downhill to have lunch at Bushmans Nek hut. The continual downhill pounding took its toll on our knees but we all arrived in good spirits to enjoy our last snack and to have our afternoon siesta in the sun.

We arrived back in the car park around 3:00pm and enjoyed a refresher before setting off home. A great big thank you to Bushy for an excellent weekend. It was very interesting and the weather was perfect - couldn’t have been planned any better than that.

Graham Robinson