There are so many ways to enjoy the mountains around Cape Town. You could go hiking up Table Mountain, mountain biking in some of the SAN Parks, and even paragliding and zip-lining a little outside of Cape Town itself. Cape Town’s mountains are even dotted with caves of all shapes and sizes. Some of Cape Town’s epic cave systems are easy to explore while others require nerves of steel. Either way, caving in Cape Town should definitely be on your bucket list.
But, like any extreme activity, there is a level of danger involved with caving in Cape Town, that’s why you should always make sure you have all of the essential items you need to make the trip safe and enjoyable.
Caving in Cape Town check list:
Item 1: an experienced guide
You should always go caving or hiking with an experienced guide who knows the way well and knows the cave very well. They will be able to adjust the hike and the caving experience according to your fitness level or your energy and bravery level on the day. An experienced guide will also be able to help you during the caving experience by giving you detailed instructions that will help you enjoy the caves without injury. A good guide will also be able to keep you calm when you are about to panic, this is essential to avoid injury or panic attacks.
Item 2: an emergency phone
10111 – National Flying Squad
(+27)21 467 8000 – Cape Town City Police Station
107 – Cape Town General Emergency
Ambulance /Metro control room
ER 24 Hours
Medi-Clinic Cape Town
(+27)21 464 5500
Red Cross Children’s Hospital Poison Line
(+27)21 689 5227
0800 123 123
Fire / Rescue / Emergency
(+27)21 975 4700 – Fire Station
(+27)21 400 3635 – Disaster Management
(+27)21 449 3500 – NSRI
(+27)82 990 5975 – NSRI
(+27)21 534 6426 – Anti-cruelty League
(+27)21 948 9900
Item 3: a first aid kit
It goes without saying that you should always carry a first aid kit when hiking in Cape Town and especially when caving in Cape Town. The landscape is full of rocky outcrops, some of which are very unstable and a wrong step can lead to injury. Be safe and have the right kit with you.
Essential items for the first aid kit:
- Pain relief tablets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Antibiotic ointment
- Antihistamine for mild allergies
- Hydro-cortisone cream for skin inflammation and rashes
- Electrolyte replacement powder
- Steri-strips for cuts
- Triangular bandages for a sling
- Curved scissors
- Safety pins
- Cold packs
- Space blanket
- Duct tape
Item 4: the right clothes
In order to get to the caves you will need to do quite a bit of hiking, so come prepared. You may get hot while hiking so 100% polyester clothing will help you regulate your body temperature without getting too sweaty. The caves, though, are very cold and any scratches you may get while caving can get infected, so it’s advisable to cover up completely. The best option is to wear long pants and a t-shirt for the hike, and carry a long sleeved top for the caving, and simply layer when you get there. Also remember that you will be crawling in the mud so bring a clean set of clothes along for after the caving.
Your clothing check list should include:
- Long pants that are easy to clean
- A long sleeved shirt or top to cave in
- Something warm- a thin jacket that you can cave in without getting stuck when crawling through tight tunnels
- Hiking boots with good grip and ankle support
- An extra change of clothes for afterwards – including socks and underwear
- Good hiking clothes to get you there
- You can also use coveralls to cave in and simply wear them over your hiking clothes.
Item 5: the right gear
Having the right gear when traveling, adventuring and caving in Cape Town makes all the difference. There is nothing more frustrating than getting all the way there only to realise the torch you brought doesn’t work or you forgot to bring gloves and your hands get shredded into by the jagged rocks. Make sure you pack the right gear.
- A helmet
- Headlamps x2
- Spare batteries – they always die when you need them the most
- Protective gloves
- Sunscreen for the hike there
- A hat for the hike there
- If your taking your camera or phone make sure you have something protective to put it in. you don’t want it to get smashed on the rocks while you belly crawl.
Item 6: edibles
You will get very hungry after all the hiking and crawling around in those cave systems, so make sure you have enough of all the right stuff.
- Ample food and snacks
- Water, at least 2 litres per person.
- Wet wipes to clean your hands before eating. You will be filthy after caving.
Consult your guide for a more detailed list of items you will need for your caving adventure as different adventures may require more specialized equipment like ropes.
Did you find this article helpful? Do you have any other checklists you want to know more about? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to share or pin this article. Sharing is caring ?