Gruta Rei do Mato. Cave in Minas Gerais, Brazil

Gruta Rei do Mato

Cave in Minas Gerais, Brazil

Gruta Rei do Mato Photo © Agência Minas

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Gruta Rei do Mato

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Calango-Cego
	(Polychrus acutirostris)
Calango-Cego (Polychrus acutirostris). Photo by Rickert Senhorini
The Gruta Rei do Mato (King of the Bush Cave) is considered a natural monument in the state of Minas Gerais and is protected by a conservation integral unit, established in August 2009 with the main objective of protecting the historic site as well as the wildlife and their archaeological and paleontological heritage.
This cave is the second most visited in the state of Minas Gerais, receiving tourists from all over Brazil and also all over the world.

History

The name of the cave originated in the mid-1930s when, in the revolution that occured in the same year, a fugitive man, blond, strong and hairy of unknown identity was housed in this cave.
Older residents claim to have seen this man several times with a girl from the city rolled in the bush, hence the name King of the Bush.
After this, a man named José Eloi de Deus (Wikipedia Article) was the first person to enter the cave, being the official discoverer of the place.

The Rei do Mato Cave was opened to all visitors on October 22, 1988. It is 15 meters deep and about 305 meters long, of which only 67 meters of them are open to the public. In total, there are four salons formed by stalagmites, stalactites and limestone with beautiful images sculpted by nature and maintained at a temperature between 17°C and 20°C.


	- Gruta Rei do Mato
Gruta Rei do Mato. Photo by João Drumond

Info for the tourists

The visitation is guided by a trained guide and lasts on, average, 40 minutes. The walkways for access to the cave have a metal frame with approximately 171 steps and 1.20 meters tall, all this to ensure greater security for the visitors. The visit to this local is open every day from 8:00 am to 17:00 pm, with specific visits to the cave from 9:00 am at 16:30 pm, with the last group leaving at 16:00 pm.
The tickets cost BRL 15 for the whole ticket and BRL 7.50 for the half ticket which are available for students with student ID and for the visitors over the age of 60 years. The entry of children under 6 years of age is prohibited.

It is prohibited to visit the cave with open shoes or sandals. It is essential that the tourist wear tennis shoes or boots. The entry of food in the cave is prohibited. This is because the food scraps can attract animals that will consequently interfere with the natural formation of the rocks.

School or tour groups with more than 10 people must schedule visits up to 48 hrs in advance by calling the following numbers:
  • +55 (31) 3775-2695
  • +55 (31) 9326-1000
  • +55 (31) 9326-0007

or by e-mail
  • mnegreidomato@meioambiente.mg.gov.br
  • maria.pereira@meioambiente.mg.gov.br
  • Features

    The lighting of the cave turns off automatically after the passage of a group of tourists. This is to ensure that the temperature is kept in the most natural state as possible to prevent unwanted effects to the local ecosystem.
    The parking lot of the cave is wide and has a snack bar, a terminal and a small infirmary to provide first aid. The place also has a reception area for the tourists, an auditorium with 114 seats, an exhibition room and some bathrooms. The fourth salon has several rare formations. Among them are two intact crystals of calcite with 13 meters in height and 20 centimeters in diameter columns, which geologists assert that there are only records of these crystals in the cave of Altamira in Spain.

     - Gruta Rei do
	Mato
    Gruta Rei do Mato. Photo by Unknown
    Besides the rock formations, the Rei do Mato Cave also features paintings and cave drawings dating back more than 6,000 years ago.
    In the third salon, there are also several important formations such as “sorvetão” or “big ice cream” which is formed by stalactites, and it took, roughly, 20,000 years to form.

    There is no other Brazilian cave that has, within its interior, as many rich features as the Rei do Mato cave, in which government agencies tend to the environment in order to preserve the place.

    How to get there

    The Rei do Mato Cave is on the BR-040 KM 472, near the roundabout with access to the city of Sete Lagoas (Wikipedia Article). Another way to get to the cave is to follow the MG-238 highway until reaching the BR-040, and follow directions to Brasilia.
    Another method widely used by the local visitors is public transport which departs from the city center towards the cave every half hour.

    Where to stay

    Near the Rei do Mato Cave, there are a variety of hotels and hostels available, as it is located in a tourist city. And the price of one night in these hotels range from BRL 100 to BRL 150 or US 45 to US 80.

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    Author: Laryssa Balduino. Last updated: Aug 26, 2014

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