Border Cave

Useful Information

Location: Near Tembe Elephant Lodge in Tembe Elephant National Park. Mngomezulu village. Lebombo Mountains in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Ingwavuma district, Elephant Coast.
(-27.020077, 31.991007)
Open: All year daily 9-16.
Closed Good Friday, 25-DEC.
Fee: free.
Small guiding fee charged.
Classification: ArchaeologyRock Shelter
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: A=600 m asl.
Guided tours: yes.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: The Director, Amafa AkwaZulu Natali, P.O.Box 523 Ulundi 3838, Tel: +27-35-8702050/1/2, Fax: +27-35-8702054.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1934 first excavations by Raymond Dart.
1940 W.E. Horton believed that the sandy residue on the cave floor was guano and therefore useful as fertiliser.
1941–1942 excavations by Cooke, Malan and Wells.
1970–1975 excavations by Peter Beaumont.
1987 excavations by Peter Beaumont.
2015 beginning of excavations by Lucinda Backwell, still ongoing.


Border Cave is a Middle Stone Age site in the Lebombo Mountains in Swaziland. The site has an interpretive centre featuring dioramas and models that tell the story of pre-historic man living at this cave. Very recently it has been completed by a self-catering camp, consisting of two thatched rondavels (huts). One- and two-day hiking routes have also been mapped out for visitors. The site is operated by the Mngomezulu community, who also guides visitors to the cave.

Border cave overlooks a 500 m sheer drop into Swaziland and possesses spectacular views. It is more or less a large overhang, a rock shelter or abri.

The oldest evidence of man in this location dates back some 200,000 years. These are the oldest findings of Homo sapiens, the anatomically modern man, found in Africa. The rock shelter has one of the longest archaeological records in southern Africa, spanning from the Middle Stone Age to the Iron Age.