Drakensberg Caves & Huts Database

Pholela Cave


Cobham Wilderness Area

This is one of the most popular caves for beginners in the southern berg.  It is reached from the Cobham campsite by following the excellent paths up the Pholela River.  Spectacle Cave and Gorge Cave are both close by.  Pholela Cave also provides a suitable overnight base for hikers wishing to venture onto the escarpment via Masubasuba Pass, Minaret Pass or Amakehla Pass, and day walks which take in two of these passes are quite possible from the cave.  Masubsuba Pass can be accessed via Fingall's Rock.  The best route up to Amakehla Pass or Minaret Pass is to start along the path towards Lakes Cave, then head up the ridge from the very distinctive saddle separating the two valleys.

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

S29 38.605 E29 19.333 at 2063 metres


Accommodation: 8

Pholela Cave once consisted of three large, level terraces which could comfortably accommodate 12 people.  However, the terraces have become badly eroded and a more practical limit is now 8.  There is apparently some debate over whether the terraces should be repaired.

"Pholela" means "it is finished" in Zulu.  For beginners who have just made it to the cave, that is probably exactly how they feel themselves!


This is a comfortable cave with relatively level, sandy terraces.


There is a large, reliable stream which passes through the lower end of the cave, and which was responsible for its formation.


There are several small pools in the stream above the cave.


The cave provides excellent shelter from rain, but its location in a narrow portion of the valley means that the wind often roars through it at night.  As a result of this and the lack of direct sunlight, the cave is quite cold, even in summer.


The bamboo in front of the cave cuts out any view that might be worth seeing.  However, a short walk up-river through the narrow little gorge above the cave will bring one to some pools in the bedrock, from where there are some magnificent views of a small part of the escarpment.


+27 (033) 7020831


Last updated: 2009-08-14 10:46:48 | Report Listing Report Listing
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