The history of the Sudwala caves goes way back; we’re not talking thousands of years, we’re talking millions of years back. The caves have been vital when you consider the history of the area and they have played an important role to those tribes that once called the caves home. The entrance of the cave has seen many battles. One of the battles was so severe that the remains of a massive fire can still be seen outside the cave to this day. And if the caves were not enticing enough with all of that history surrounding it, they are also believed by some to be the hiding place of the Kruger Millions.
But today the Sudwala Caves are not only a historical attraction but they are also a geological haven for those who have an interest.
Caves are natural wonders and while there might be many of them located all throughout the world, there are no two caves that are the same. Caves can vary in size and they can also have many differences when it comes to the structures that are found within the cave system. While what we are looking at is a cave that seems to have undergone all of the changes possible, the reality is that the cave is a structure that is continuously growing and changing with the transformations taking place very slowly. The actual formation of caves is known as speleogenesis and the geologic processes will change from one cave to the next.
Cave systems are usually named after the way that they have been created, and there are many ways that a cave can be formed. For example the anchialine cave is a cave that is created on the coastline from the constant contact with the salt water, while what are known as solution caves are the result of rock being eroded away in the weak spots. There are many weak rock types and caves will often be formed in these types of rock.
The Sudwala Caves are formed out of dolomite. This softer rock was dissolved over many years by natural acid that is found in the water that flows through the cave. This acidic water flows into all of the cracks and joins, where it gently erodes the rock further. Since water still flows in the cave to this day, the erosion continues. The creation of the Sudwala Caves dates back 240 million years and as a Karst system, the cave is quite fragile. Changes in the acidity of the water can end up changing the way that the cave continues to be formed.
Most famous structures
Caves are stunning displays of nature’s power. They are not simply hollowed out structures, they are also full of features that are themselves awe inspiring. The stalactites, the stalagmites and other cave features such as columns and flow formations are naturally formed over millions of years. They grow slowly, often as the result of calcium found in water that slowly drips onto the rocks. The Sudwala Caves have forest on top of them, so water can leech down into the system below.
Cave systems are truly something else, they are utterly fascinating. When you are visiting the Sudwala Caves you are not only observing natural history, you are also watching history in the making.