When the tide is low, discover the mesmerising highs of a coastal cave
The marks of time are imprinted on the walls of Waenhuiskrans Cave. Smooth curves on the rock are remnants of centuries of waves battering the coastline, eroding the land. Standing beneath the ancient ceiling, Cedrick Flandorp looks out onto the ocean. “To be inside the cave is one of the greatest experiences,” he says. Here in the cool darkness, a sense of stillness washes over Flandorp, in spite of the rising tide filling the cave.
Since his childhood, Flandorp has been coming to the seaside town of Arniston, home to this unique cave. Dotted with small white houses that contrast with balmy seas, it looks as though it could belong in the Mediterranean. “I couldn’t believe that this is a place that exists in South Africa,” he says. Hidden away on the shores of the quiet town, the secluded gem keeps calling Flandorp back. “Up until today, Arniston’s a big part of who I am,” he says. The town gets its title from the 1815 shipwreck of the same name that occurred on its shores. It’s one of many attractions in the area, but the limestone cave is Flandorp’s favourite spot. The word waenhuiskrans translates into ‘wagon house cliff’, based on the belief that it’s so large an ox-wagon could fit inside. Still, the entrance to the cave requires a fair amount of ducking and balancing. While only accessible at low tide as the waves fill it with water, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience.
Located within the Waenhuiskrans Nature Reserve, and under an hour away from L’Agulhas, the cave is a landmark of the Western Cape’s coast. Looking out, the overhanging arc frames the sea like an artwork, creating a meditative setting. “All you can hear is the rushing of water over the rocks,” Flandorp says. “It leaves me mesmerised.” In the spaces where the land and ocean meet, this rare beauty awaits.