Drakensberg Caves & Huts Database

Venice Cave


Cobham Wilderness Area

This cave may be difficult for inexperienced hikers to find.  The best route to it is via Lakes Cave.  Once at Lakes Cave, you climb up to the tarns and then follow the upper contour path westwards until it disappears above what is a major river valley.  Strangely, according to the map this is not the Mzimkhulwana River but one of its major tributaries.  Even more confusing is the presence of an unmarked cave at the bottom end of this valley of about the same size and quality as Venice Cave.  If you descend into this river valley, cross the river and follow it down past the nameless cave to where it runs into the Mzimkhulwana River (here only a stream and considerably smaller than the tributary), you should find a faint path which you can try to follow up the remainder of the Mzimkhulwana.

This path appears and disappears in progressively more difficult terrain, but if you persevere you cannot fail to arrive at Venice Cave.  The maps indicate two Venice Caves, but the first one is up on the left of the narrowing little valley and is quite uninhabitable. About 100 metres higher up the valley, around a tight little bend, you will find the habitable Venice Cave on the right.  About 400 metres over the rise in front of the cave is Chameleon Cave.

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

S29 39.922 E29 16.771 at 2084 metres


Accommodation: 4(s) or 8(W)

Venice Cave can accommodate about 8 hikers comfortably in winter, but in summer it becomes very damp and may be able to accommodate only 4.


The floor of the cave is nearly level, and is demarcated into separate sleeping quarters.  The cave may receive a little sun in the late afternoon in summer, otherwise it is in shade all day and is very cold.  In summer the cave may become too damp to use, with numerous drips making things quite uncomfortable.


A small stream (the Mzimkhulwana River!) runs past the mouth of the cave and provides adequate water in summer.  In winter you may have to venture downstream until you find a suitable pond or trickle to collect water from.


There are a few small plunge pools downstream from the cave, but there is nothing to swim in unless you venture much further down the valley.


Except for the drips in summer, this cave is quite sheltered.


The cave overlooks a steep, grassy hillside which does not provide much of an outlook.  However, there is a spectacular view upstream of the Minaret.  A short climb to the top of the little ridge opposite the main cave will provide a vantage point from which you can study the escarpment from the Minaret southwards towards Bushman's Nek, and out over the lower berg towards The Island and Little Bamboo Mountain.


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Last updated: 2009-08-17 14:09:20 | Report Listing Report Listing
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