Frequently Asked Questions

Caving? What is that?

Caving is often called Spelunking by non-cavers. Refer to our new cavers page for a short description of the sport.

How do I join and how much does it cost?
In order to ensure that you are actually serious, we require you to do 4 trips as a day member and we ask for R100 per day for day members. 

Once you've done four trips you can apply for full membership which is R200 per year.

Thilo Muller is in charge of Memberships.
Just ask one of the club members and they'll help you organise this.

Refer to the contact us page for contact details.

What do I take on a trip?
Refer to the new cavers page for basic equipment needed.

What are the trips throughout the year?
Please refer to the meetlist page.

What if we get lost?
Most cavers use some common sense. As a general rule we also carry maps with us. Alternatively, we'll let you navigate and blame everything on you. But on a more serious note, first time cavers will feel disorientated in a cave, but regular cavers develop certain skills which allow them to navigate with ease through caves, whilst leaving cairns at difficult spots and often referring to a map. 

I'm scared of the dark.
Don't worry we have lights, lots of them. 

I'm scared of small spaces.
Don't worry, we have The Plug that'll test it out before you. If he can fit, you can fit. 

What if I get stuck.
Usually, we'll pull you out. Otherwise, we'll leave you there till the end of time so that people in the future can discover a new "Ms Ples"

Is it cold in a cave?
The temperature in a cave is usually the average annual surface temperature of the area. Generally, it is around 18/19 degrees Centigrade in and around Gauteng. 

Is caving dangerous?
As with any other extreme sport there are dangers involved, however the SEC members have experience with various types of caves and will be aware of the dangers involved. We try to avoid dangerous situations with new cavers. 

What if the cave collapses or floods and we get stuck?
Sanctum is a highly unrealistic movie and so are other cave movies. Generally, caves don't collapse, and we won't take you in a cave during a season that we know flooding is likely. If this was to happen, there are people who are aware of our whereabouts and will get us rescued if we are not back by a certain time.

Are there a lot of animals in caves?
Caves are generally too cold for snakes; you might occasionally find them at entrances. Some caves have porcupines, but they always try and get out of your way.
Bats are generally harmless. They also don't fly out all at once like in the movies unless severely disturbed. 

Other animals live in burrows, they don't like caves as a general rule.

How do I get to the cave?
The meet leader will generally send a location that is at a garage or large intersection in the area of the cave. If the trip is scheduled to start at 9am, that means we leave the meet point at 9. Don't get left behind as the hardest part of cave navigation is finding the cave entrance. 
You will need a car with high ground clearance as caves tend to be far away from tarred roads and cavers don't like walking far to get to the caves. Your car will probably be parked next to a cave in the middle of a random field for hours and hours - so don't leave anything valuable inside it.

What is SASA?
It is the umbrella body for caving in South Africa and contains the member clubs of SEC, Potch Potholers and the Cape Peninsular Spelaeological Society, CPSS. 

How do I visit other caves?
Contact the committee for the names of cave owners whose permission MUST be obtained beforehand. If you are caving within the usual bounds of another caving club, it is good manners to let them know who, when and where and invite them to join the trip. They may have ‘late-breaking’ news on the area or the intended cave. Contacts for other clubs can be obtained from the committee. 

How do I organise a cave trip?
Because caving is potentially dangerous it is essential to let someone reliable know what cave you are going to, when you expect to exit and how many people are with you. Land-owner permission MUST be obtained before the trip. Ensure you have the right and sufficient equipment for that cave. It is rarely safe to cave alone, and three persons is usually considered the minimum for a trip. 

What is histoplasmosis?
It is the spoors of a fungus that grows on bat guano etc. In a cave it can get disturbed by cavers and inhaled. Warm, moist lungs are ideal for the spoors to grow. The effects are generally felt about two weeks after exposure (but can start 3 to 30 days after). Most infections are asymptomatic, but a few suffer headaches, tight chests and some difficulty breathing. Bad infections result from longer & greater exposure and having a compromised immune system. If this happens contact your own doctor and tell them, you have been exposed to histo – be warned that incorrect treatment can worsen symptoms. 
Immunity is generally built up and long-time cavers rarely get Histo again.