Located in the Matjiesriver Nature Reserve, 45km up the road from Algeria camp in the Cederberg Wilderness Area, the Stadsaal Cave is a unique and special part of South African history.
Just a few hundred feet from the Elephant Paintings rock art site is another landmark, though this one has more recent ties to South African history. Called Stadsaal (Afrikaans for City Hall), this cavernous dome has been carved out of the rock by thousands of years of wind erosion and other weather factors.
The name Stadsaal was officially given to the cave after the National Party’s head honchos held a planning meeting there just before coming to power in 1948. However, it was used as a community meeting place well before that. There is historically significant graffiti preserved in the cave featuring some famous political names, including that of DF Malan, dating back to the late 1800s.
Besides the main cavern area, there are many smaller openings and unique formations to be witnessed, all of which are accessible thanks to a trail that goes around the entire rock formation, starting and ending at the parking area. It takes about 30 minutes to walk around at a leisurely pace, though you might find yourself taking much longer to absorb and appreciate the wonder of these unique rock formations.
The next time you’re out in the Cederberg, make sure to put these two attractions on your list of must-do activities.
*A permit is required to visit this attraction, available for purchase from CapeNature’s Algeria office.