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The Secret Cave, Wilderness

SOUTH AFRICA | Tuesday, 26 March 2013 | Views [1611]

Having heard tell of a man that lives in a disused railway tunnel not far from here, a group of 5 of us decided that we would take a late afternoon walk to investigate. We walked through the tunnel without expectation and certainly none that would live up to the reality of what we found. On emerging we found a place called The Secret Cave. This cave is a dwelling that has been created from available resources and, as a strategically placed cushion proclaimed ‘some people find beauty in their surroundings whilst others create it’ could not be more relevant. I cannot begin to imagine how many years it must have taken in the making.

Let me take you on a brief tour. The patio in front of the cave holds about half a dozen tables and chairs (the backs of which have been inscribed with Biblical verses) and on the table there are glass holders containing a candle and sprig of brightly coloured Bourganvillea. I half expected to be invited to sit down and offered green tea and carrot cake!  There are shells everywhere, mostly strung together to make a sort of mobile. The ‘guide’ was not easy to understand but I gather that there had been some sort of restaurant here at some point previously. There have been various legal wrangling’s over the years as to ownership. Situated just to the side of the disused railway and perched above the sea that flows into a small estuary, at least for now they are left in peace as land ownership is unclear.

Through a small entrance we were lead into living quarters that had been cleverly sectioned off so that getting through from start to finish was not dissimilar to finding one’s way through a maze.

One of the first areas held a large double bed raised off ground level and with a draped canopy, one supposes to afford some privacy. We went through an office, where somebody was sitting working by candlelight, the former kitchen – now a pantry area, a mind-the-wet-spot where the cave roof leaks, a sitting room and some other sleeping areas. The afternoon was overcast so the lighting inside was particularly strong and therefore it was not possible to go further back into the deepest recesses.

Back outside there is a semi-built/tented area which serves as a kitchen/braai area, the back of which is lined with large commercial stainless steel worktops. The final building a purpose built loo facility which looks as if it could once have been part of the railway station. The mains waterpipe ensures fresh clean water on tap. On the other side of the track is a small platform with a long table and at the furthermost end, a clothesline! What an incredible but strange place we found ourselves in.

A man with piercingly blue eyes was outside busy preparing firewood. A couple of long logs were being sized down, not with an axe, but by propping one end on a large rock and throwing an only slightly smaller rock down in order to break the log. I couldn’t help but smile thinking that back in England a health and safety exec would be having palpitations at this! And perhaps justifiably, as splinters of wood flew off in different directions. I’m not sure what sort of person we expected him to be, but he seemed like any other man going about his daily chores.

What an intriguing find and definitely worth something in the donation box.


Tags: backpacking, baz bus, secret cave, wilderness

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