Drakensberg Caves & Huts Database

Five Star Cave


Mnweni Reservation

This cave is located in the upper Mnweni settlement area (referred to on maps as the Upper Tugela Location).  Mnweni is the only part of the lower Natal Drakensberg which was never declared a wilderness area in its own right.  As a consequence, there are no Parks Authority offices or game-guards in the area, which has been heavily settled by mostly poor Black subsistence farmers.  Cars can safely be left at the iSandlwana Police Post, where hiking groups should also complete the Mountain Register.  This police post is responsible for a huge, largely undeveloped area with a very poor infrastructure, and as a result Mnweni's dagga industry has thrived.  The walk into what can be called the "wilderness" part of Mnweni is a very long one, and whichever route is chosen will take hikers past kraals and dagga plantations.  Treat the locals and their property with respect, but remember there is safety in numbers and it is recommended that you only enter the area in large groups.  Since this part of the berg is not overseen by the Parks Authority, there is no limit on the maximum size group allowed, nor any prohibitions against making campfires.  This does not mean that the Mnweni wilderness area has a different ecology to the rest of the berg; instead it is up to responsible hikers to do what they know is best!

Five-Star Cave is situated conveniently near the bottom of Fang's Pass and Mbundini Pass.  Neither of these passes is particularly good, but Fang's is the better of the two.  Further down the Mnweni River, just above its confluence with the Icidi River, are the Mnweni Baths.  Adjacent to these fine pools are some level areas suitable for tenting, an alternative which some may prefer to the cave.

Co-ordinates (WGS84 / dd mm.mmm):

at metres


Accommodation: 6

This is a very shallow overhang which will not protect its occupants from wind and driving rain.  However, it has a relatively level floor and is a far better option than nearby Shepherd's Cave.

Someone must have thought this was a really great cave to give it a 5-star hotel rating!


This cave can accommodate about 6 hikers in comfort in good weather.


The nearest water is the Mbundini River, which is some distance below the cave.  It is best to collect water there before making one's way to the cave, regardless of your direction of approach.


The only pools in the vicinity of the cave are those in the Mbundini River, which are some distance away.


While the cave affords good shelter in fair weather, it has a very short overhang and is therefore exposed to the elements.  Being east-facing, it receives the morning sun.  The main concern is the local inhabitants, so it is a good idea when they are known to be around to not leave equipment unattended or venture out alone.


The cave overlooks a wide portion of valley covered in protea trees, with views down the valley further to the east.


+27 (012) 3625383


Last updated: 2009-08-20 12:11:29 | Report Listing Report Listing
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