#Flash Fiction – Carrot Ranch challenge – Digging for gold [in the Sudwala Caves]


The Sudwala Caves in Mpumalanga South Africa were formed approximately 240 million years ago in precambrian dolomite rock. For those of you who don’t know, as I didn’t, precambrian is the earliest part of Earth’s history so the rock in which these caves are formed was first laid down about 3 800 million years ago.

There are a number of rock formations in the cave which bear interesting names like Samson’s Pillar and Screaming Monster, some of which have been dated to 200 million years ago.

During the Second Boer War, in 1900, the Boers (Afrikaans farmers) used the caves to store ammunition for their 94-pounder Long Tom guns. It is also thought that Paul Kruger, one of the dominant political and military figures in 19th-century South Africa and president of the Transvaal Republic from 1883 to 1900, may have used these caves to store the legendary “Kruger Millions” or gold bullion that disappeared during Paul Kruger’s flight from Pretoria to Maputo in Mozambique at that time.

Digging for gold

The change in temperature made the boys shiver as they entered the cave. Their flashlights made dancing shadows on the floor and walls as they made their way towards the far corner, dragging their spades behind them.

Dark shapes fluttered past them heading upwards into the darkness. Tom felt something like spiderwebs brush his face and he yelled out in fright.

“Come on, Tom,” said Paul. “They’re only bats. Think of the gold.”

Tom thought of the legendary Kruger Millions that were thought to be hidden in this corner. He started digging into the deep bat guano with enthusiasm.

This post was written for Charli Mill’s weekly flash fiction challenge as follows:

April 12, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a bat. You can use an association to the winged, cave-dwelling critter, or you can explore the word for other meanings. Bonus points for including a bat cave. Go where the prompt leads.

You can join in the challenge here: https://carrotranch.com/2018/04/13/april-12-flash-fiction-challenge/

Have a great day.



31 thoughts on “#Flash Fiction – Carrot Ranch challenge – Digging for gold [in the Sudwala Caves]

  1. Loved your cake at the start, your explanation (I don’t know a lot about South Africa’s history and found it very interesting) and I especially loved your flash. I have been in a forest where bats roosted and you could smell the guano before you came upon them – and it was thick on the floor. The lure of the gold must have been great to go digging in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a fabulous story, Robbie. I really feel the boy’s excitement. What we will do for gold! Digging that guano can’t have been too pleasant, but the rewards enormous. Maybe. Your introduction with its historical perspective made it all the more interesting. This is a great piece of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have some fabulous caves in South Africa, Wayne. I also love them and we have visited a number of them. I don’t think there are pictoglyphs, African art usually took the form of rock paintings and not carvings. I think they would have showed us any carvings which the tour guide didn’t.


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