Gcwihaba Caves and Aha Hills
Gcwihaba Caves and Aha Hills : Gcwihaba, one of Botswana’s wildest and most isolated locations, is a fascinating subterranean maze of caverns and pits, connected tunnels, fanciful stalagmite and stalactite formations, and brilliantly colored flowstones that seem like rock waterfalls.
The Gcwihaba Caves are a voyage through time in all their petrified beauty. Historians think foraging humans lived in the region thousands of years ago. Late Stone Age artefacts, charred ostrich eggshells, animal bones, and even a fossilized primate head have been discovered via archaeology!
As you make your way from the more widely utilized northern entrance, you’ll notice thousands of bats hanging upside down from the cave walls. The most frequent species include the commerson’s Leaf-nosed Bat, Southern Africa’s biggest insectivorous bat, the small Dent’s Horseshoe Bat, and the Egyptian Slit-faced Bat. They are harmless, but be prepared for a huge exodus as you approach– clouds of shrieking, fleeing bats winging through the dusty blackness.
Some caverns are up to ten meters high, while others are so small that you have to squeeze or crawl on your back to go through them. Some stalactites are up to six meters tall, meeting their cousin stalagmites to form biological columns that appear to support the entire cave roof.
The main cavern is known as ‘Drotsky’s cavern,’ after Ghanzi farmer Martinus Drotsky, who was the first European shown the caverns by the Kung San in 1934. Gcwihaba, located on a sand ridge surrounded by undulating dunes, has been a component of the Kalahari environment for almost three million years. It developed during the Pleistocene Period, when the region was significantly wetter. There have been tremendous climate changes; with very rainy and very dry times.
At Gcwihaba, unique plant and animal habitats have been documented. These include the Namaqua Fig, which can only be found in these hills and is easily identified by its long trailing roots, the endemic aloe, tent tortoises, barking geckos, Ruepel’s parrot which also unique to this region, and barn owls that reside in caves.
Archaeological evidence shows that foraging peoples lived in the region thousands of years ago. In the area, late Stone Age artefacts, charred ostrich eggshells, animal bones, and even a fossilized primate head have been discovered. Indeed, the caverns provide vital insights about how prehistoric peoples interacted with their surroundings.
Gcwihaba is a National Monument and a potential UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Gcwihaba Valley is located around 35 kilometers east of the Aha Hills. Six hills make up one half of the Gcwihaba Caves. The remaining half of these stunning dolomite caverns may be found 19 kilometers southwest in the Koanaka Hills.
The Aha Hills, which straddle the Botswana-Namibia border, are visible from Gcwihaba and are about 50 kilometers northwest of it. The Aha Hills are generally rough and jagged, having been broken into various faults and fractures by weathering. They span an area of roughly 245 square kilometers, the majority of which is in Botswana.
One of the many reasons why the highlands are so appealing is their remoteness. Imagine being able to camp right next to this natural beauty. However, before you pitch your tents locate the nearest hamlet and obtain permission from the chief.
If you have professional hiking equipment, you might want to check out the two sinkholes in the vicinity. The locals call these “Waxhu,” which translates as “God’s home.” The north Waxhu Cave was discovered for the first time in 1974. It’s around 230 feet about 70 meters deep.
Because it was originally seen on the fifth anniversary of Botswana’s independence, the South Waxhu Cave is also known as the “Independence Cave.” This cave is approximately 50 meters deep. If you think exploring the hills in this region is amazing, just wait till you see what lies underneath.
Conclusion: Botswana is full with unforgettable adventures. Exploring the Gcwihaba Caves and Aha Hills should be at the top of your vacation itinerary. Explore the depths of Botswana’s history. Plan your African safari to include a visit to the Gcwihaba Caves and Aha Hills!