A Backpacker's Guide To The

NATAL DRAKENSBERG

 

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Zulu Cave

Zulu Cave and waterfall     The approach to Zulu Cave

Location:

Monk's Cowl / Mdedelelo Wilderness Area, Northern Drakensberg.  The cave can be reached from several directions, although the most popular route is via Hlatikulu Nek from the Parks Authority camp at Monk's Cowl.  An alternative route involves following the southern ridge from Hlatikhulu Nek all the way down to the campsites on the Mhlwazini River below Eagle Gorge, then working your way back up the valley and passing through Cat Cave.  There are several nice pools on this route.  For longer hikes, Zulu Cave can be included in a southern loop from the Monk's Cowl office which takes in Stable Cave, or a northern loop from the Cathderal Peak office which takes in Leopard or Poachers Cave, returning via Eastman's Ridge for a third overnight stop at Skoongesicht cave or one of the campsites below Phillip's Folly.  Zulu Cave is also conveniently close to Intunja (Gatberg) for those wanting to climb this distinctive lower berg peak.

GPS Coordinates: WGS 84

S29 01.546 E29 21.001 at 1 818 metres (Landlubbers)

Description:

Zulu Cave is a large overhang set well back into a valley which carries one of the many tributaries of the Mhlwazini River.  However, the floor is cup-shaped and there are very few areas which are sufficiently level to provide comfortable sleeping quarters, although the cave can easily accommodate 12 hikers.  The front of the cave is mostly hidden by bush and trees, and there is an interesting indigenous forest adjacent to it on the steeper side of the valley.  A reliable waterfall tumbles over the overhang at the lowest point of the cave, and after a summer storm this can increase to a raging torrent that vibrates the floor of the cave.

Comfort:  3/5

The cave is reasonably comfortable, although it is a bit dusty and the floor is covered with small stone chips.

Water:  5/5

The waterfall provides a reliable source of water which can be collected from a small pool immediately below the cave.

Pools:  0/5

There are no pools within easy reach of the cave.

Shelter:  5/5

Zulu Cave provides excellent shelter, even in the worst of summer thunderstorms which are quite frequent in this area of the berg.  The bush and trees in front of the cave provide an effective wind break as well.

Outlook:  2/5

The cave overlooks a tributary of the Mhlwazini and the ridge on the opposite side of the main river valley.  This is not a particularly interesting view, and in any case it is mostly hidden by the bush in front of the cave.  The one main attraction is Cat Cave, which lies on the same tributary as Zulu Cave and about 400 metres below the latter.  Cat Cave contains quite a number of good Bushman paintings, and it is for this reason that no one is permitted to stay overnight there.

Overall Rating:  15/25

History:

Unknown.

Last modified on 2011/11/10