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TMNP: Silvermine Caves

Agulhas, Bontebok, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo, West Coast
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Bush Baptist
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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:59 pm

No NL, there is a passage on the south side of the fence (I think) that goes down a small hole and a cavern, then you slide under a rock to get into the pit.
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

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naturelover
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Unread post by naturelover » Thu Oct 11, 2007 3:32 pm

Hi there BB

Thanks for the entrance info

Did you know that Silvermine has some of the most amazing sandstone caverns in the world.

Is White Dome one of the caves inthe amphitheatre area?

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Bush Baptist
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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:29 pm

I think so, but it is over 30 years since I was there.
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

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naturelover
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Unread post by naturelover » Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:54 pm

Hi BB

Caves have always been an interest of mine but I seem to find so little on the Silvermine caves.
It seems as if few other forumites are cavers as you and I seem to be the only ones on this thread.

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Unread post by behne » Fri Nov 02, 2007 2:12 pm

Ah, some forumites with an interest in our little sandstone grottos. There definitely are about 90 listed caves. The best known are Boomslang, with White Dome Grotto next-door, and Devils's Pit. Other gems are Oread Halls, just off the path between Boomslang and Devil's Pit and Tartarus. The longest and most difficult system is the link-up from Robin Hood's Cavern through Ronan's Well, exiting in Echo Valley. Fabulous caving with the notorious "80 foot Narrows". Believe me, the crawl in Boomslang is cavernous compared to this!! There are plenty of other smaller caves, with several in the Amphitheatre area, as well as along towards Kleintuin Kop. The Moles produced a little guide many, many years ago but it's long out of print. Enjoy. I spent many hours up there as a youngster and have started introducing my kids to them more recently. I'm often tempted to revisit the "80 foot Narrows" but don't know if I'll get through in my current shape.

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Bush Baptist
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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:42 pm

Hi behne & welcome to the forum

I was told of many caves in the system in my youth, but we lived quite far away and only went a few times in larger groups. The last time I remember that White Dome was quite a squeeze and I got stuck crawling into Devil's Pit. I had to relax completely and be pulled in and out by my outstretched arms. Not a happy experience. Nowadays I doubt that I am thin enough to fall into DP from the top!
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

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Unread post by behne » Sat Nov 03, 2007 6:10 pm

I remember that White Dome has two branches and I think the RH one was narrow in places, ending in a low chamber. Devil's Pit was accessed either via an abseil, or via an extremely narrow passage after Free Drinks Saloon and Horripilation Chamber. This narrow tunnel was often filled with sand and I recall thinking that the whole area felt a little unstable, unlike most of the other caves. That tunnel is much shorter than the Narrows of Ronans but is definitely very tight.
Thinking about these caves is getting me quite keen to head up there again soon.

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naturelover
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Unread post by naturelover » Sat Nov 03, 2007 6:37 pm

Hi all

We have another caver in our midst, welcome behne. Have you ever done the Robinhood cave trail?

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Unread post by behne » Mon Nov 05, 2007 12:53 pm

Hi Nature Lover, and others
Not sure exactly what you mean by "Robinhood cave trail" but I guess you are referring to the cave system which connects Robin Hood Cavern and Ronan's Well? You can start in Robin Hood's (in the Amphitheatre) and go through a boulder choke into the Ronan's Well system, exiting in Echo Valley. I wouldn't describe this as a trail! It is probably the most difficult cave up there entailing some climbing and very tight wriggling. The whole thing must be about 1km long if you explore the extension as well. So, yes, I have done it a number of times but not in the last few years. I think I'd have to lose a bit of weight before heading back :D

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Unread post by behne » Tue Nov 06, 2007 2:42 pm

Some time back some friends and I were a little obsessed with caves and found most of the 70 odd caves listed in the old guide we had. We even found a few that weren't in the guide, most notably a deep pit called "Death Leap cave". So yes, I know Egyptian Cave, as well as most of the others in the Amphitheatre area. All this reminiscing is getting me quite keen to head up there again.

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Unread post by naturelover » Fri Nov 09, 2007 7:46 pm

Hi behne

Which would you say is the most difficult of all the caves you have explored?

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Unread post by behne » Sun Nov 11, 2007 9:12 pm

Hi Nature lover
Of the Kalk Bay caves the hardest cave physically (for me) has always been Ronans Well with its tight squeezes and tricky scrambling/climbing. But, the descent into Death Leap involves a long abseil in quite a dangerous (loose) shaft. Then you are faced with the problem of getting back up. Quite a technical challenge! There's a draft which blows near the end of the extension of Ronans which might just link with Death Leap. This would be a tricky trip!
Other Peninsula caving challenges, of a far more technical nature, are of course found on Table Mountain ...

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Unread post by naturelover » Thu Nov 22, 2007 7:51 pm

Hi all

What about the caves at Orange Kloof and the ones at the Valley of Isolation on Table Mountain?
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