Helderberg

By Peter Swart May 2007

Introduction

The town of Somerset West, on the coast of False Bay is over looked by the cliffs and buttresses of the Helderberg. The south eastern side of Porcupine buttress has a number of steep cliffs near to its top. We had heard of some caves in the area and an official meet was organized by Alan Butcher on the 4th May 1997 to explore and survey these caves. At the base of the cliffs behind the Erinvale Estate is a 30m long, 15m wide, sheltered ledge that provides a splendid spot for camping. This spot is so attractive that someone keeps a sleeping bag and provisions in a large blue trunk on the ledge. A little further along from the campsite, is the large entrance to Helderberg Cave 3, or Rasta's Rest. The cave is home to a colony of Egyptian fruit bats, and a diverse collection of invertebrates.

Further along the base of the cliff and one level above Rasta’s Rest are two more caves, Helderberg Caves 1 and 2.

Bats

Bat specimens examined.

Cave Species Gender Forearm Comments
Cave 2 Rhinolophus clivosus Female 54.5mm
Cave 3 Rousettus aegyptiacus Female 88.0mm
Cave 3 Rousettus aegyptiacus Female 86.8mm scars from parasites
Cave 3 Rousettus aegyptiacus Female 91.2mm deeply torn ear

Die Hel, Groot Winterhoek _docs

Helderberg