Only about a meter high, the opening to Boomslang Cave is an ominous black hole at the base of a tan, rough rock face.
A small green rectangle sign singularly marks of the cave’s presence, which was discovered in 1911, at the top of the valley gorge, where it quietly hides in the dark just outside of Kalk Bay.
To enter the cave, you must crawl on your hands and knees through the sand following the narrow gravel path, but once inside a whole other world opens in the dark.
The main cavern, a lightless 20 by 20 feet opening, is damp and cool with connecting tunnels running away in different directions through the earth. A flashlight or headlamp is essential for the trek through the cavern that features jutting rocks from both the floor and low ceilings.
Through one of the tunnels to the right, the cave cuts backward through the hillside, with a tall skinny crevasse working upward into the rock. About a ten minute hike through the stone, an opening breaks free into the sky, streaming hot light into the cavern and illuminating the tunnel. Through the opening, you can see views of the entire bay and the small, beach town of Fish Hoek lingering below along the water’s edge.
The stark contrast between light and dark and the rushing waters of the ocean with the solid coldness of the rock, make Boomslang Cave a wondrous adventure into the earth.
Take the train south from Cape Town to the Kalk Bay Station. Walk along scenic Boyes Drive until you find the Echo Valley sign, marking the trail head. Hike up the step trail following the signs to Boomslang Cave. For a longer day hike, continue the trail to five additional caves lining the valley.
What you need:
- Clothing that can get dirty. Long pants advised to protect your knees.
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Hiking shoes
Hungry or thirsty after a day of exploring the caves? Once you arrive back in Kalk Bay stop for a refreshing mojito and delicious food at Cape to Cuba and watch the sun set over the ocean at the Brass Bell.
Written and contributed by Kelsey Ivey