Garden Castle Wilderness Area, southern Drakensberg.
GPS Coordinates: WGS 84
Cave 1: S29 45.910 E29 07.828 3075 metres
There are actually two caves near the top of the north gully of the southern Mzimude Pass, as well as a tiny annex nearer the top of the pass. The maps show only one Mzimude Cave as being able to accommodate 12 hikers, but 6 per main cave would be more realistic. The caves are situated above the northern gully of the southern Mzimude Pass, and are clearly visible from the escarpment when viewed from the direction of Walker's Peak. Since both caves are at about the same level - some 20 metres above the access point from the gully - they are sufficiently off the main pass to offer a sense of isolation and security. This is especially true for the further cave, which involves a second scramble to get to. Both caves are quite difficult to see from the gully, and can easily be by-passed in mist as a result. The annex, though small and rather exposed, lies in the gully and has no doubt helped some hikers out of this predicament.
Both caves are comfortable, with almost level floors. In summer there are a few drips in the larger cave, but the smaller one has too many drips to be of much use at this time of the year. In winter the drips will disappear and both caves should be equally desirable.
In summer a stream (a source of the Mzimude river) offers plenty of running water near the top of the pass. In winter, however, you will need to either bring water up with you from further down Mzimude Pass, or walk a distance of one or more kilometres into Lesotho to fetch some.
There are no pools in the vicinity of the caves.
Both caves are fairly deep, with the second (further) cave being the deeper of the two. The first cave also faces into the weather more, so in poor winter conditions, the second one is the better option. Being near the top of a pass, the only dampness (other than summer drips) will be due to the mist rolling up and down the gully.
Both caves offer a fine outlook towards Walker's Peak, with the second one offering the more dramatic views due to its more precipitous location.
Overall Rating: 16/25
Last modified on 2011/11/10