Kaaimans Grotto – Wilderness, South Africa - Atlas Obscura

Overlooking Kaaimans River on the southern coast of South Africa, a large cave sits beside an abandoned railway bridge. This cave is called Kaaimans Grotto, and it has become a shelter and a makeshift museum. 

Locally, it is also known as Clifford’s Cave, an homage to Clifford Brandon, who moved into the cave in 2006. Brandon has said that divine intervention led him to the seaside shelter. After moving himself into Kaaimans Grotto, Brandon built the cave into a shelter for the homeless and a makeshift museum.

Kaaimans Grotto is filled with shell chandeliers, religious iconography, mannequins, and other trinkets, as well as the residents’ living quarters, the cave is well worth a visit. A brief introduction and history of the cave will be given by a resident before visitors enter the cave itself. 

Beyond the cave, the abandoned Kaaimans River Railway Bridge can be followed to Victoria Bay. Pedestrians should be cautious—the bridge is rusting and full of holes. Although it is supposedly safe enough to traverse, and certain cave residents and locals can show you how to get across, do be careful. The crossing isn’t for the faint of heart. 

Know Before You Go

Follow the train tracks to the west of the main beach in Wilderness for about 10 minutes, through the tunnel. The path is clear, if a bit overrun. Entrance is R25. There are signs to be wary of crime, so it's recommended that visitors don't go alone. 

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April 10, 2020

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