Drakensberg Caves & Huts Database

Hospitalspruit Cave


Monk\\\'s Cowl Wilderness Area

The cave can be reached from Jacob's Ladder, the Mhlwazini River or the Valley of Pools.

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

S28 58.827 E29 20.802 at 2016 metres


Accommodation: 8(S) or 12(W)

This elusive cave is hidden in plain sight, and only on very close inspection does it give its presence away, since it looks for all the world like a long, low cliff, embedded in the side of a short, blunt, grassy spur with a triangular patch of bush growing in front of it.  The author has passed beneath it on several occasions without being tempted to investigate further, so convincing is this camouflage!

This cave has proven for the author to be one of the most elusive to find, since the knowledge of its whereabouts seems to have been lost over the years.  Even the cartographers have got it wrong: Slingsby places it quite close to Vaalribbokkop Cave, but in a later edition it replaces Anton's Cave.  Other backpackers have mistaken the small overhang in the ridge behind Anton's Cave as Hospitalspruit Cave.  The fact that a small black kettle of the type used by game guards was found in the cave suggests that its whereabouts were well known by the previous generation of Parks Authority employees.


The cave is comfortable, with a gently sloping floor.  Some areas may become damp during high summer, restricting accommodation to a comfortable 8, but it can easily sleep 12 backpackers during the rest of the year.  There is a small, rocky, walled area at the very back of the cave which can accommodate 2, while the remainder can stretch out further to the front.


In high summer there is a trickle of water at the back of the cave, but at other times you will need to collect water en route either from the Valley of Pools, or from the top of a small waterfall that plunges down into the Valley of Pools from the plateau above.


There are no pools in the vicinity of the cave, and those in the Valley of Pools are a few kilometres away.


The cave provides very adequate shelter, since the overhang is deep and the bushes in front of it provide good protection from wind and driving rain.


The cave looks out towards the escarpment, with a good view from Cathkin Peak to the Cathedral Range, but this spectacle is hidden by the bushes and you will have to exit the cave to take it all in properly.  A short scramble to the plateau above the cave will extend the view even further towards Devil's Tooth.


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Last updated: 2009-08-20 10:37:07 | Report Listing Report Listing
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