Introduction to Main Caves, Giants Castle, Central Drakenberg
Main Caves, near the Giants Castle Camp of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, in the Central Drakensberg, regarded as one of the most important sites of San Rock Art in South Africa. It is a substantial sandstone cave, with an estimated 500 examples of their rock art!
- Firstly, not only a shelter but a museum, with displays that depict the traditional way of life of the San;
- Fenced to protect it from vandalism;
- The site has guided tours, which are open to the public;
- it is easily accessible; the walk to Main Cave is gentle and only takes between 45 minutes to one hour to reach Main Cave; and
- Lastly, the tours take place every hour between 09h00 to 15h00 daily for a small fee.
One of the most critical ‘frescos’ in the cave is two huge figurines with animal-like heads. Two interpretations of this painting exist. Firstly, the theory that the San used to wear masks when they were performing spiritual dances or when they hunted. Secondly, the belief that their Shamans could morph with animals and then communicate with their ancestral spirits. These manifestations were known as Therianthropes.
It was close to this site that in 1873 the Hlubi leader, Langalibalele, made a bid to escape to Lesotho just over the high Drakensberg. The Colonial government regarded him as an ‘outlaw’. His route known as Langalibalelele’s Pass, can still be seen. It is also close to this site that the world-renowned Vulture Hide exists. This attraction offers the bird-enthusiast a unique opportunity to view and photograph various raptors and vultures, such as the endangered bearded vulture or Lammergeier, the Cape vulture and Verreaux’s eagle.
Main Caves is a must-visit when you are in the Drakensberg.