Hiking in South Africa: Kalk Bay Caves


If you’re looking for an adventurous hike close to Cape Town, check out the Kalk Bay Caves. A half-hour drive from the city-center, it’s a perfect weekend challenge.

A group of five of us headed off around 9:15 a.m., lead by Danny, a professional guide. The walk up is steep, but the path is well maintained and includes areas with wooden planks and steps. In the beginning, there are some forested areas that can provide shade, but that thins out the further up you go.

There are more than a hundred named caves in the peninsula. Some require ropes and technical expertise. The most popular, Boomslang, traverses through the mountain and is a great introduction to spelunking. Although a little scrambling was required to get to the entrance, you can spend much of your time in the cave standing up and looking around. In one instance, we did the belly shuffle, so expect to get dirty! Also, make sure you are comfortable with a few harmless bats… especially when they fly near your head in their haste to get away.

In Boomslang cave, there are a few strings that people have laid out in order to find their way back to the entrance. A few candle nubs are also around the caverns, but lights are required to fully explore the cave. Once you emerge, you can extend your hike for as long as you want by walking down, up and over the ridges.

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The views of False Bay and the surrounding areas as you descend are stunning.

In order to take on this hike you should have an average fitness level, and be comfortable in enclosed spaces.

Sunscreen, a hat, snacks, a strong light (preferably a head lamp) and plenty of water are necessary. Although there are some streams, drinking from them is not recommended.

In total, the hike took around 4 hours, with about an hour and a half worth of rest. To read another account of our adventure (with cooler pictures!), check out Pierre’s write up on Treasure Africa

Note: Even with maps, caving can be a dangerous activity. A guide is strongly recommended.

To schedule a hike with Danny in the Kalk Bay Caves or elsewhere around Cape Town, contact him at 083 574 7225. Rates vary depending on excursion length and number of people. Adventurous clients preferred.