Friday 5 June 2015

Caving Gobholo, Swaziland 2 - 7 April 2015

A fantastic caving weekend at Gobholo in Swaziland with cavers Steven, Sharron, John, Selena, Terence, Elize; friends and ESSA members Leon, Iris, Andrew, Gaelle, Frano and Salome.  The cave is situated at the end of a lovely 3km hike through plantation and indigenous forest.  The first day was a recce with cavers and Leon braving his way into a cave and owner of Swazi trails Darren.  The second day was an attempt at finding and surveying a new route but the passages turned out to be marked already.  The third day we found a new route and surveyed it adding 220m to the existing map, pushing Gobholo up from the 9th to the 8th largest granite cave in the world and only a short bit behind 7th and 6th place.  The fourth day Steven, John and Selena returned to that route hoping to push it further after rigging a rope ladder going down a tight squeeze but found that it came to an end.  Sharron, Leon and Gaelle spent a day exploring at ground level looking for potential holes along the route the underground group had gone.
Caving at Gobholo is best described as “underground bouldering” and the routes underground are a maze.  The cave was the 9th longest granite cave in the world, but after the additional section found this weekend, it is now the 8th longest.  The good news is that there is still more to be explored;  we saw the potential but we ran out of time.
Thank you to everyone who came on this trip and made it a wonderful long weekend of exploration and fun.  Thank you Sharron for organising it and the excellent catering.
Selena Dickie

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