We meet at Kalk bay train station where after climbing a few steps we reach echo valley which has great views over Kalk bay harbor. We hike for about an hour before we get to our first cave which is named Boomslang (tree snake), it is named that way because you have to crawl on your hands and knees to enter. This is an easy cave that everybody can manage, there are no really tight squeezes and the entrance is pretty short.
After a while the cave opens up into a big chamber where we can stand and stretch out. There are several holes here to explore most lead back to the big chamber but you are welcome to do a little exploring if you like. Once finished exploring we continue though the cave and find a some patches bit of florescent algae on our way through the cave which becomes a bit narrow but very high, we can even see the light of day though a skylight at the top at once point. Shortly after the small skylight we arrive at the second exit which has magnificent views over Fish hoek and the oceans, you can even spot Simonstown!
After finishing taking in the breathtakings views we walk about 20 minutes though some indigenous trees before reaching the top of the peak which is covered in fynbos. At this point you can see all the way from the Atlantic Ocean with long beach and chapmans peak on the right to the Indian Ocean next to Fish hoek and Simonstown on the left.
We descend back into the echo valley before taking a short ascent takes us to to a flat sandy patch called the Amphitheater. We are now directly above the cave known as Oread hall or Robin Hood if you jump up and down on the sand you can actually feel that the ground is hollow under you!
From here we leave the path before arriving at the entrance to Robin Hood which is well hidden below several large and shady trees. The entrance to the cave is the tightest part know as the doorway, here you have to lie on your stomach and wriggle your way though two quite tight rocks to enter. Once you are though the doorway you will manage the rest of the cave fine!
If you didn’t manage to fit or you felt claustrophobic and did not want to go though the doorway that is not a problem as I bring some hammocks along for exactly this reason. You are welcome to string them up beneath the shady trees and catch up on some reading time while the rest of us explore Robin Hood as this is a challenging cave and not for the faint of heart!
After the doorway the cave opens up and we walk along the passageways until we get to the organ pipe chamber which is very pretty. The organ pipes are actually stalactites and stalagmites that have joined to become columns. After taking in the views we then have some climbing to do going up and down rocks and under obstacles before arriving at the junction chamber.
Here the cave splits into 2 routes, carry on straight and it leads to the exit to echo valley though Ronan’s Well which is extremely tight and not for novice or beginner cavers, we will not be taking this route. Instead we will turn right and head along a small stream which will bring us to the end of Robin Hood. When I first arrived here as a school kid there was a legend that there was an underground lake on the other side if we could just fit though the small tight hole. Many of us tried I even almost even got stuck but none of us ever made it though which is just as well as actually the cave ends here and there is nothing further though the small stream continues and become the stream which flows down though echo valley.
Once we reach the end of the cave we slowly make our way back the same way which we entered passing back though the junction chamber and organ pipes before we wriggle back though the doorway and into the sunshine. It is dark inside as in absolutely pitch black so as you exit it feels a little like being reborn!
After we rejoin any fellow cave who didn’t quite make it into Robin Hood we find a spot in the sun or shade and enjoy our sumptuous home made lunch where we can discuss all of the wonderful or challenging experiences we just had. After lunch we make our way back though echo valley following the stream which we were just following inside the cave down the valley and back to Kalk Bay.
Once we reach the bottom we head to the brass bell which has an excellent tidal pool that we can dip in if you want to cool off. After that a we enjoy well deserved ice cold beer or cocktail next to the pool which is very well earned as you may even find that you are stiff in places you didn’t even know you had muscles the next day.