Underground at the Echo Caves

Our first real stop was the Echo Caves, a site our guide book mentioned briefly, but our South African map discussed in more detail.

It was a bit off the tourist route of the Highlands Meander we were planning on doing, but well worth the trip. There were only a few other people there, and we had a very informative guide.

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Apparently the Bapedi people used the columns in the caves, to warn the other Bapedi people of invaders, and sometimes even lived in the caves to elude their enemies, the Swazis.

We started in the Madonna Cave, known for a white rock formation that looks like the Virgin Mary. Sadly, it was hard to get a good photo in the semi-darkness, so these photos are of other parts of that cave. The first one looks like a vanilla ice cream with caramel and chocolate sauce, our guide joked.

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Earl and I in the Elephant Cave.

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Our guide demonstrates how the Bapedi warned their people by hammering on the columns. Because the caves continue for something like 16km underground, the sound was heard for miles.

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The spot the Bapedi people slept, as well as a grinding stone that was found in the cooking area.

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Earl and I were so impressed that this amazing (and huge) area had been completely forgotten about and only discovered in the recent past, when a farmer who kept losing cattle went looking for them! A wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

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