Nelson Bay Cave, Plettenberg Bay

Nelson Bay Cave also known as Wagenaar's Cave is a Stone Age archaeological site located on the Robberg Peninsula and facing Nelson's Bay near Plettenberg Bay in South Africa, and showing evidence of human occupation as far back as 125,000 years ago.The south-facing cave, which is rectangular in shape and roughly wide by deep, is in quartz-sandstone and quartzites while its mouth is 19–21 metres above mean sea level. In the same area are two other Stone Age caves, Hoffman’s/Robberg Cave and Matjes River rock shelter which lies about 14 kilometres north at Keurboomstrand. Robberg shows notches, caves and other erosional features caused mainly by wave-cutting at various times in its past, but also due to lithological variation, bedding and characteristics of the bedrock. The cave developed in a breccia often found at the contact between Silurian Table Mountain Series quartzite and Cretaceous Uitenhage Series quartzitic sandstone. Excavations were carried out in 1964-5 by Ray R. Inskeep and again in 1970-1 by Inskeep and Richard G. Klein. The geology and geomorphology of Robberg were well documented by John Rogers in 1966.The cave has yielded rich archaeological material covering its intermittent Middle and Later Stone Age occupation dating from a few hundred to more than 125,000 BP. The cave was abandoned between 40,000 to 20,000 BP during the last Ice Age when the sea level here dropped some 130 metres, the coastline moving about 100 km seaward. Lesotho and the South African interior were apparently unoccupied from ~15,000 BP until ~11,500 BP. From 22,000 to 14,000 BP extensive grasslands covered the coastal plateau in the Plettenberg Bay area with no closed evergreen climax forest. Animals that roamed this grassland included giant buffalo, an equine close to the quagga, springbok and alcelaphine antelopes: blesbok/bontebok, wildebeest, hartebeest and a giant alcelaphine. Bones from all these herbivores have been recorded in the cave's middens.
Choose to start, finish, or center your holiday on a trip to Nelson Bay Cave by using our Plettenberg Bay itinerary builder site .
Source
map
Create an itinerary including Nelson Bay Cave
Nelson Bay Cave Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5.0
1 review
TripAdvisor
  • This prehistoric monument is accessed via a small path about half way between the entrance to the Robberg nature reserve and the car park. It is a steep walk down the cliff to the cave at sea level. T...  more »
Places to stay near Nelson Bay Cave

Plan your trip to Plettenberg Bay

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans to Nelson Bay Cave by other users

3 days in Plettenberg Bay BY A USER FROM INDIA November, teens, popular PREFERENCES: November, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 10 days in Africa BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA August, culture, outdoors, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 20 days in South Africa BY A USER FROM SOUTH AFRICA December, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 17 days in South Africa BY A USER FROM SOUTH AFRICA December, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 60 days in South Africa BY A USER FROM SOUTH AFRICA August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 23 days in South Africa BY A USER FROM SOUTH AFRICA July, culture, romantic, beaches, wildlife, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, romantic, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 2 days in Plettenberg Bay BY A USER FROM CANADA July, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in Knysna BY A USER FROM CANADA July, teens, kids, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, teens, kids, relaxing, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in Plettenberg Bay BY A USER FROM ZIMBABWE August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, shopping, hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 60 days in Africa BY A USER FROM DENMARK August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 10 days in Garden Route BY A USER FROM SOUTH AFRICA May, outdoors, romantic, beaches, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, outdoors, romantic, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 10 days in Garden Route BY A USER FROM SOUTH AFRICA May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
View more plans