Ponicova Cave – Asociaţia Pro-Mehedinţi

Ponicova Cave is the largest cave in the Danube Gorge and lies near Dubova Town. Over the years, it has received many names: Water Mouth Cave, or Bat’s Cave.

The Ponicova cave is dug into the left slope of the Danube, in The Large Boilers (Ciucaru Mare), being partly flooded after the creation of the dam lake. Its galleries are 1,660 m crossing Ciucaru Mare and out into the Danube.

The access to the cave is made in three locations. Main entrance is the most accessible one and is located in Ponicova Gorge from DN57, descending along the bridge over the creek Ponicova which, which has deepened into limestone, formed a natural bridge, then crosses the cave forming a galley system and runs underwater in the Danube. Another entrance is at a higher level than the first but is more difficult to access, preferred by the climbing lovers. The cave has a third entrance located at the current level of the Danube, reached by the boat, passing 500 m below the wall of the Great Ciucarul to the mouth of the cave.

The cave is composed of a series of galleries that communicate with each other, situated on two floors, from Ponicovei Keys (on land) are entering the Ponicova trenches gallery, or on a narrow path, in Bat Gallery. This is a room of over 100 m long, 60 m wide and 30 m high, which has fallen blocks on the floor, pits, concrete and mounds of guano from bats.

Ponicova Cave is declared speleological reservation due to its fossil remains of Ursus Spelaeus, a very old piece of pottery and some endemic species. Visiting is recommended from May to October, except during the flood because it is likely that Ponicova Gallery is totally or partially flooded. It is preferred that the upper floor access is done in groups, in the presence of caving guide, with proper equipment, because visiting the entire cave takes 2-3 hours.