Caving on a wire in KZN

Winona Griggs

Caving on a wire in KZN

Have you ever tried caving before? It’s an incredible adventure that takes you deep into the unknown. Today, I want to talk to you about an exciting and daring activity known as wire caving. It might sound a little crazy at first, but trust me, it’s an experience you won’t forget!

So, what exactly is wire caving? Picture this: you’re suspended high up in the air, attached to a wire, and slowly making your way through a series of underground caves. It’s like walking on air, but without a solid floor beneath you. Sounds thrilling, doesn’t it?

As you maneuver through the cave system, you’ll encounter all sorts of obstacles, like narrow passageways and tight squeezes. It can be challenging, but that’s part of what makes it so exhilarating. You have to rely on your agility, flexibility, and problem-solving skills to navigate through the dark, mysterious caves.

But don’t worry, you won’t be alone on this adventure. You’ll have an experienced guide with you every step of the way, ensuring your safety and providing guidance. They’ll show you the best techniques for moving through the caves and help you overcome any challenges you might face.

One of the key things to remember when wire caving is to always stay focused and alert. This activity requires constant concentration to anticipate and react to the ever-changing environment. It’s like solving a puzzle in real-time, with the excitement of not knowing what’s around the next corner.

If you’re thinking of trying wire caving, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s important to listen to your guide and follow their instructions. They know the caves inside out and have your best interests at heart. Trusting their expertise will ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Additionally, be prepared for physical exertion. Wire caving can be demanding on your body, requiring strength, flexibility, and stamina. It’s a workout like no other, but the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when you conquer each obstacle is worth every ounce of effort.

Lastly, don’t forget to bring a sense of curiosity and wonder. Wire caving is not just about the physical challenge; it’s also about exploring the hidden beauty of the underground world. The caves are filled with breathtaking stalactites, stalagmites, and other wondrous geological formations. Take a moment to appreciate the awe-inspiring sights around you.

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In conclusion, wire caving is an incredible adventure that will test your limits and ignite your sense of adventure. With an experienced guide by your side, you’ll have the opportunity to push yourself and discover the wonders of the underground world. So, are you ready to take the plunge and experience the thrill of caving on a wire?

Caving on a wire in KZN

Imagine standing on the edge of a deep gorge, where caves have stood for over 100,000 years. These caves, known as KwaXolo, have remained a secret haven for the San people, as well as resilient goat herders and brave explorers from the KwaNzimakwe community. Their inaccessibility only added to their allure.

But now, the caves have finally opened their doors to the public, thanks to a clever system of harnesses and cables. Situated inland from Margate on the beautiful KZN South Coast, KwaXolo Cave Adventures offers visitors a chance to experience history, culture, and community while getting an adrenaline rush. Originally planned to open in April, the adventure park allowed a group of journalists and tour guides, including myself, to be the first to explore its wonders, just before the lockdown.

Caving on a wire in KZN

As I arrived at the start station, Operator Shaun Makhanya and administrator Khosi Mashala greeted me with warm smiles. They quickly got me ready for my adventure by securing my harness and placing a helmet on my head. Excitement filled the air as we prepared to embark on our journey.

As we made our way down the path, breathtaking views of a magnificent waterfall and a deep gorge opened up before us. The sheer beauty of nature engulfed me, leaving me in awe.

Our experienced and agile guides, Nomvula Mabandi and Musa Ntaka, took the time to demonstrate how to securely fasten our safety lines to the fixed cable. Musa gave clear instructions, reminding us that one line must always be clipped in as we transition from one section to another.

I listened attentively, making sure I understood the importance of following these safety procedures. With their guidance, I felt confident and ready to tackle the upcoming challenges.

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Caving on a wire in KZN

In the European Alps, they have a system called via ferrata (“iron way” in Italian) that’s widely used. It’s basically a climbing route that incorporates steel cables and rungs attached to the rock to ensure the safety of hikers on precarious mountain paths. The engineers who designed the Wild Swing at Oribi Gorge were involved in all the technical aspects of setting up the 300-meter “cableway” here.

Feeling completely safe, we had a lot of playful banter as we made our way down into the gorge, even when we had to navigate around a rocky outcrop. Then we descended a rock wall, assisted by rungs, into the deep overhang itself. What an incredible view the San people must have had – of the gorge, and nowadays, of the surrounding homes and farmlands.

I walked into a dimly lit room, filled with ancient artifacts that whispered stories of a long-forgotten past. As I gazed upon the sculptured San figures, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of wonder and curiosity. These figures, bearing the marks of time, offered a glimpse into a world that existed centuries ago.

Khosi, my knowledgeable guide, directed my attention to a particular figure. In its faded ochre paint, an image of an eland, a majestic antelope, came to life. The intricate details painted by the ancient Shamans told a story of a hunt, a celebration of life, and a sacred connection between humans and nature.

Standing in that room, I couldn’t help but marvel at how these simple sculptures captured the essence of a culture that thrived and evolved long before my time. Each stroke of paint on those figures spoke volumes, carrying the wisdom and experiences of those who came before us.

It made me realize the importance of preserving our history and heritage. Through art and artifacts like these, we can uncover the stories that shaped our world. They provide a tangible link to the past, allowing us to understand and appreciate the journeys of our ancestors.

We must remember that our history is not just a collection of facts and dates; it is a tapestry of human experiences, triumphs, and struggles. By immersing ourselves in these relics of the past, we can gain a deeper understanding of who we are and where we come from.

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So, I invite you to explore the world of ancient artifacts and delve into the stories they have to tell. Let them ignite your imagination and awaken your curiosity. For within their weathered exterior lies a treasure trove of knowledge, waiting to be discovered.

Caving on a wire in KZN

After I took a break and thoroughly explored the massive cave, I got back to climbing. When I reached the top, there were refreshing drinks and delicious fruit waiting for me. I unclipped myself from the harness and joined others to share our thoughts about this thrilling tourist experience. I have to say, it was quite a workout and incredibly enjoyable!

Caving on a wire in KZN

If you love the thrill of the great outdoors and want to experience something a little more adventurous than your usual hike, then KwaXolo Cave Adventures is just the ticket. While it may not be a full-blown mountaineering expedition, it offers an exciting mountain scramble that even non-mountaineers can enjoy. The best part? It’s designed to be accessible to most people, thanks to the safety system in place. And let’s not forget the added bonus of the cool gadgets that kids (and adventurous adults) will absolutely love.

Originally set to open on 1 April, KwaXolo Cave Adventures had to delay its grand opening due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But fear not, as they’ll be ready for action as soon as possible, so you won’t have to wait too long to embark on this thrilling adventure.

Fitness Factor: If you enjoy a good workout but don’t want anything too strenuous, this adventure scores a decent 6 out of 10 on the fitness scale. While the trail is relatively short, you’ll still need to put your arms to work for the occasional rock scramble. Oh, and if you have a fear of heights, be prepared to face that head-on too.

Cost: You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that this exhilarating experience won’t break the bank. It’s priced at just R80 per person for the approximately two-hour expedition.

Contact: Interested in taking on this thrilling adventure? Get in touch with Khosi at 072-208-7855 or Shaun at 074-887-3742. Alternatively, you can find them on Facebook.

Images: Catherine Hofmeyr

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