Gruta Rei do Mato

Rei do Mate Cave - Cave of the Forest King

Useful Information

Location: Sete Lagoas, 62 kilometers from Belo Horizonte.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=998 m.
Guided tours: L=220 m. V=30,000/a[2000]
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1989 opened to the public.


Gruta Rei do Mato is the youngest show cave of Minas Gerais and thus famous for its extraordinary and well preserved speleothems. The tourist path shows three large chambers with numerous stalactites, stalagmites, rimstone dams and much more. The most impressive rimstone pool is called Poco dos Desejos (Wishing Well). Extraordinary is also the Rarities' Chamber with its numerous columns, 20 m high with a diameter of 30 cm.

The name of the cave, Rei do Mato means King of the Woods. A fugitive lived in the cave, who had this name. He collected and prepared medical herbs in the rain forrest and bartered with the village people for food. To be exact, he did not live in Gruta Rei do Mato, but in Grutinha (small grotto), which is nearby. This small cavern is famous for 4,000 to 6,000 years old cave paintings, showing hunting and fishing scenes and a fertility ritual. The skeleton of a strange animal who lived in the region over 10,000 years ago, the Xenorrinoterium bahiense was found here. A replica is on display in the show cave.

This cave is developed at the top of an isolated limestone hill. This cave is a series of large phreatic chambers, which have been modified by breakdown. The tourist path is made of raised metal decking. This cave is the best decorated in Brazil and has excellent helictites.

A smaller cave, above the main cave is an important palaeontological site and also has well-preserved cave paintings.

Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.