Die Hel, Groot Winterhoek

By Peter Swart 5 December, 1998

Location

Die Hel Caves

Die Hel is a large pool (approx 60m by 80m by 11m deep) on the Groot Kliphuis River in the Groot Winterhoek wilderness area. There are three known caves around the pool. On the western side of the pool is large cave entrance, which is most easily reached by swimming across the pool. The cave is very easy to find. Not only is the mouth of the cave easy to spot (approx 9m across by 6m high), but it is also easy to smell. Just swim to the middle of the pool, and follow the aroma of the bat guano. On the eastern side of the pool, are two caves which can be reached by climbing over the boulders between the water and the cliff. Cave B is the southern most cave and Cave C the northern most. All of the caves are formed in the steep, red, quartzitic sandstone cliffs of the gorge through which the Groot Kliphuis River flows.

Biology

Many invertebrates were collected from the cave, although none have yet been identified.

A group of well over a hundred bats was found in the eastern chamber, and a number of Horseshoe bats, some of which were carrying babies, were found in the network section. A ghost frog was also found in the twilight zone of the network section of the cave.

Notes:

Bats:

  • Rhinolophus capensis (Cape Horseshoe bat)
  • Rhinolophus clivosus (Geoffory's Horseshoe bat)
  • Miniopterus schreibersii
  • Miniopterus ??
  • Rousettus aegyptiacus leachii (Cape fruit bat??) (not confirmed)

Frogs:

  • A ghost frog was observed in the twilight zone of Cave C.

Fishhoek _docs