Drakensberg Caves & Huts Database

Sandleni Cave


Garden Castle Wilderness Area

This is one of the few escarpment caves in the southern Drakensberg.  The quickest access is via one of the Stones Passes.  Although not marked on any maps, Sandleni Cave is situated at the top of its very Sandleni Pass.  This pass is relatively easy and is readily recognizable from below as well.

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

S29 39.237 E29 12.976 at 2803 metres



Sandleni Cave is a proper cave, being about 20 metres in depth.  It has a slightly terraced floor at the back that can accommodate 3 hikers.  The terrace remains damp but otherwise drip-free for most of the year.  During the wet season the rest of the cave is practically useless, with numerous drips and even a small rivulet which runs across the floor. Under such conditions it can barely accommodate 6 hikers, who would do better to camp in a tent elsewhere.  In winter any water that remains freezes solid, and the adjacent cave (actually a low, tunnel-like structure) also becomes habitable for the same reason.  However, the main cave is then so cold and breezy that the tunnel is a far better alternative.  The tunnel is a cave in the true sense, being about 10 metres deep, 2 metres high and 3 metres wide.  It is about 15 metres further along a low ledge from the main cave and affords excellent accommodation for up to 9 hikers when its floor is not too damp.  There is another small, walled overhang further along the same ledge which can accommodate 2 more hikers, but this is very exposed to the wind.


Sandleni Cave proper scores 1/5 for comfort in summer (because of the damp) and winter (because of the cold).  In summer the adjacent tunnel is flooded.  However, in winter this little cave scores a perfect 5/5 for comfort!


In summer the drips and rivulets cannot fail to provide water close at hand, but there is a very reliable stream about 15 metres from the cave which runs through the main access gully and on down Sandleni Pass.  Even in winter, a reliable trickle can usually be found beneath the ice and snow.


In summer you may be able to find a small plunge pool to wash in - if you can brave the cold!


Sandleni Cave sits on the very edge of the escarpment and seems to invite every breeze, wind, raindrop and blizzard right into its open mouth.  It is a bitterly cold cave, even in summer.  Unless you stay in the adjacent tunnel in winter, a tent on the escarpment behind the cave is probably a better idea!  The tunnel, on the other hand, scores a perfect 5/5 again in winter!


Sandleni Cave provides a private view towards the south-east which takes in the lower berg towards Garden Castle and the southern escarpment from Rhino Peak.  Sandleni Pinnacle adds a majestic touch.


+27 (033) 7011823


Last updated: 2009-08-17 14:27:50 | Report Listing Report Listing
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