Drakensberg Caves & Huts Database

Sentinel Caves


Northern Drakensberg | Amphitheatre (Qwa-Qwa)

Royal Natal National Park, far northern Natal Drakensberg. The two Sentinel Caves are situated on the escarpment in a large crack in the back of the Sentinel. The caves are only about 20 metres apart and face onto each other. They both have very high, cathedral-like roofs, but although not very deep, their location inside the crack allows them to provide relatively good shelter, even in the worst weather. The caves are only about half a kilometre from the chain ladders (there are actually three of them), which makes them a useful starting point for those wanting to venture further up onto the escarpment to the source of the Tugela River or beyond. However, there appears to be no reliable way of booking the caves, so they can only be used on a first-come, first-served basis.


The easiest access to the caves is via the border post in Qwa-Qwa, which controls one of the entry points between this old independent homeland and the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. Hikers are not required to have their passports stamped, but a hiking fee is charged and the entry is heavily fenced and closed at night. This means that hikers must depart and return within the stipulated opening hours or they will be marooned on one side of the fence. The Sentinel Caves offer good shelter for serious mountain climbers wanting to tackle one or more of the routes up the Sentinel, but be aware that the Mont-Aux-Sources area is well known for theft and wanton banditry and you should never leave any equipment unattended. It is also a good idea to set a watch routine during the night to discourage thieves, and the larger your group the better.

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

No data No data at No data metres


Accommodation: 4 + 4

Each cave can accommodate about 4 hikers, although drips in summer may not allow for this full number.


The sleeping areas are level but can be quite muddy, especially in summer.


Although it may be possible to find some water or drips on the way up to the caves, there is no guarantee of this in winter.  The nearest reliable water is the Tugela River, which is about 2 km past the chain ladders.


There are no pools anywhere near the cave.


Because of their locality the caves offer good shelter from the weather, but it also means they are vulnerable to bandits.


The view from the crack between the caves can be quite spectacular on a clear day.


+27 (082) 5627669


Last updated: 2009-04-29 10:33:21 | Report Listing Report Listing
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