Sudwala Caves



Sudwala Caves


South Africa
Trip Participants


Sharron Reynolds
Carol (SEC Caving Club)
Julio (Bat interest Group)

the happy cavers   We finally made it into the back chamber  the snake fossil in the crystal chamber  a clean start I arrived at Hammoc City – Sudwala at around 5pm and sorted out keys, unpacked and got the fire going. Lyn, Andre & Sharron arrived shortly after 7 followed closely by Sanjay & Co, Carol and finally Erna.
Every one wanted to hear about the Madagascar trip and Erna and I were only to happy to fill them in and show them pictures.
Then 101 questions followed on what to expect the next day, what to take, what to pack, what time to get up. After supper all but Carol, Amit & I opted for an early night as we needed to be up at the cave entrance at 08h30 to sign indemnity forms.
The three of us sat around chatting until 2am.
Sudwala can sometimes be a wet cave but Carol & I were hoping this trip would be dryer at this time of the year and when we climbed over the first dam wall into a relatively dry chamber we gave a sigh of relief as the cave can be a little technical when slippery and wet and only Erna & Julio had ever been into a cave before. However our relief was short lived – the second dammed area was knee high with water which meant the first crawl would be wet.
While everyone stepped into the water with squeals of “its freezing” Erna stood to one side wondering how to negotiate the water passage without getting her shoes wet. After a bit of encouragement she finally stepped into the water to follow the group. Once through the second water chamber when we were wet to well above the knees she saw the humour in her earlier dilemma.
Although the water was an interesting challenge for the group it certainly did not dampen the spirits and I could hear squeals of delight at each new challenge that the group faced and conquered.
Fortunately Carol found us a way of the climbs just before the Crystal chamber that can be very challenging and somewhat scary especially when wet and slippery.
It had taken us just on 2 ½ hours to get to Crystal Chamber and we made the decision to push on to the back of the cave. Once everyone was through in my opinion the most difficult obstacle a small hole with a 3m drop on the other side with a small ledge you need to step onto about a meter down, it requires lots of team work as each person needs to be guided through by the person in front and followed closely by a fairly tight squeeze. At this point Lyn had decided she had gone far enough and her and Andre would sit in a small chamber and wait for us to return, however a call from Carol to say the final crawl was just ahead had them encouraged to push on. Although I had warned them that the final tunnel was not my favourite place in the cave, I had got the distance in the tunnel a little wrong saying it was 2 to 3m when in fact it is closer to 30m and gave everyone a good workout.
We finally made it to the back of the cave in a record time of 4 hours. It was now 1pm and having told the cave owner we would be out by 6pm we did not spend too much time in the very large back chamber. However the group having bonded well were keen to get back into the sunlight and the return trip took a little over 2hrs. Some of the group were more reluctant to get out the cave than others and did a quick tour of the commercial section of the cave. There was lots of discussion that evening round the fire place around – “I doubt I would have gone into the cave had I fully understood what I was getting myself into” needless to say some of the group had faced and conquered their individual monsters and I am sure some of the group will be pushing me to organize another trip sooner than next year.
As it was Erna’s birthday on Saturday so we were all treated to Champaign and cheese cake.
Thanks to all for a really great trip. To Carol for getting us through the cave safely without getting us lost once – We all agree – You are the Queen of Sudwala!!


Friday, July 18, 2008 (All day) to Sunday, July 20, 2008 (All day)