26km from Ohrigstad
+27 13 238 0015 www.echocaves.co.za
A particular stalactite formation in the Echo Cave outside Ohrigstad in Limpopo produces a distinctive sound when tapped. This echo gave its name to these spectacular caves, which were stumbled upon by a farmer searching for a water source in 1923.
On the completion of the Strydom Tunnel and the Abel Erasmus Pass in 1959, the Echo Caves were opened as a tourist attraction. Guided tours run from 8.30am to 4pm. Tourists are led around the limestone and dripstone formations on walkways that are equipped with electric lights, railings and staircases. The excursion lasts 45 minutes to an hour and is suitable for all ages.
Guests like to spot imaginary figures in the formations that fill the cave’s chambers. The caves are known to wind 40km into the mountain, but are still being explored and could be bigger. Perhaps the most beautiful of the halls is the Crystal Palace; the walk to reach it is a little more difficult but is worth the extra effort.
There is more than just the caves to see at this attraction. Exotic animals such as emus and llamas are kept here, to the delight of children. The nearby Museum of Man displays Stone Age archaeological finds from the area and there’s a curio shop on site.
You can overnight at the caves in one of 11 rustic double rooms, or a youth hostel that sleeps 135.