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By Zanele Mbengo


Bothongo is an adventure that leaves your legs like jelly

Experience the awe-inspiring beauty and rich history of the Bothongo WonderCave, nestled within the scenic Bothongo Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve.

The pink “Welcome to the Thatch” sign outside The Thatch Café at the welcome centre of the Bothongo Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve in Kromdraai, Krugersdorp, brought excitement and curiosity of what I was about experience.

The wooden brown floor, wooden brown chairs and tables and a wooden ceiling gave a family touch to the family restaurant.

This restaurant features a Cradle Bike Park, The Little PidiPidi Play Park, which is a friendly zone that accommodates children and the Chobe Deck.

After refreshments, my colleagues and I hopped into an open vehicle for the cave tour led by Shandor Larenty from the marketing department.

Bothongo Nature Reserve

The 45 minutes’ drive gave us a descriptive introduction to the Bothongo Nature Reserve.

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As we sat in the vehicle, I took in the beauty of the landscape – from the trees to the different dams where different animals were drinking water. One of them being the Zebra.

Larenty would stop and give a background of each species.

When we finally arrived at the Bothongo WonderCave, we were welcomed by our tour guide Joseph Mithi.

“Welcome to Bothongo WonderCave,” he said.

And in anticipation, we listened as he gave us rules to follow inside the cave.

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“When you go inside the cave you walk down 87 stairs at 45-degree angle, it’s very steep and that takes you about 22 meters,” he said.

Adventure that leaves your legs like jelly

Never did it occur to me I was about to go on an adventure that would leave me with jelly legs yet so much satisfaction.

The first steps we took felt “easy going” but as we were beginning to be hit by a breeze of cool air, it dawned on me that I was inside the third biggest cave in South Africa.

After what felt like a never-ending walk on those stairs, we reached the bottom and went inside a lift that took us 18 meters down into the open cave.

In awe, we turned our heads to look at the sheer beauty of the cave and listened to Mithi as he detailed each piece of history that created what we saw.

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We came across equipment that was used by the Italian miners in the late 1800s and saw a rail way that they might have used to move things around.

I wondered whether it occurred to those miners who worked in the caves digging limestone that in 2024 there would people in the very cave who would be told of the work they did those many years ago.

Cave carry part of history

The cave carry with them part of the country’s history that shaped it today.

There’s so much to be shared but I’d best leave some things to be discovered in person.

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