Caving safely

In order to explore safely, you need the right equipment and the right skills. The following sections will provide you basic information and links to help you get started exploring caves. The exploration of caves is full of adventure. As with many activities, there are risks. Good preparation and learning from the experience of others is key to caving safely.

Clothing and equipment

Caving is a relatively cheap activity. The clothes and equipment a caver uses depend on the type of cave being visited. Fortunately, most caves suitable for beginners are fairly straightforward and only basic equipment is required.

Caves are dark so the most important piece of equipment is a reliable light. Lights are normally fixed on a helmet which also protects the head from knocks and bashes on the cave walls and roof.

Synthetic clothing is best as it keeps you warmer even when wet. Although it is less likely in the warm caves in Cyprus to get wet, it is still a possibility. A thermal base layer with a couple of medium weight fleeces on top are suitable for most trips during winter cave explorations in Cyprus. One piece ‘furry suits’ are also popular. To cover these you’ll need a water resistant layer, usually in the form of an over suit.

Good footwear is important as there is lots of scrambling and climbing, and some cave floors can be wet and slippery. Most cavers use wellington boots which fit well and have a good tread.

Once you become experienced you may wish to invest in more specialist clothing, lights and climbing equipment but this is not necessary to begin with.

Basic techniques

Moving through a cave uses natural body movements like no other activity. Walking, stooping, twisting, crawling, squeezing, scrambling and climbing are all common and it is no doubt that caving gives the body a full workout.

However, caving skills are best developed by observing more experienced cavers – this is one of the great advantages of caving within a team. Each caver will find their own unique style of caving depending on the type of caves they like and their own body shape.

Caving hazards

Some caves are very safe while others may present serious dangers.

There are some obvious dangers from open shafts, loose rocks and deep water hazards but others may not be so obvious to the inexperienced. Of course, weather forecasts are essential when planning a caving trip to avoid dangers from flooding, but local knowledge and information are essential tools for safe caving. If in any doubt seek help from experienced cavers.

People interested in exploring caves in Cyprus may also be drawn towards old abandoned mines, and these may present different hazards to those in caves.

It is a fact that caving, cave diving (in other countries) and mine exploration are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities need to be aware of these risks and behave responsibly and safely during such activities.