The Gruta Rei do Mato, in Sete Lagoas, was the most beautiful and sensational cave we know, in the complex of caves located in the surroundings of Belo Horizonte.
The Gruta Rei do Mato State Natural Monument is only 68 km away from Belo Horizonte, just over 1 hour from the capital. So it’s also worth it for the ease of access.
The cave is part of the Peter Lund Cave Route complex. The circuit also includes the Gruta do Maquiné, in Cordisburgo and the Gruta da Lapinha, in Lagoa Santa.
Peter Lund was a Danish researcher who visited over 200 caves in the 19th century and made important discoveries. He is considered the father of paleontology and archeology in Brazil. How about following some of his steps?
10 Photos and Curiosities about the Gruta Rei do Mato
One of the largest caves in Minas Gerais, Rei do Mato is located in Sete Lagoas, 68 km from Belo Horizonte.
A few centuries after Peter Lund’s discoveries, we explored the Gruta Rei do Mato in the company of Maria Honorina Pereira Rocha, the site’s manager.
Today, much has been discovered and Honorina’s main task is to preserve and maintain the structure for visiting the cave for tourists.
It was after 6pm and she was there, talking to us about Rei do Mato, after having accompanied us during a visit. At the time, it had to deal with a lack of personnel (the IEF – Instituto Estadual de Florestas was in the process of hiring new employees).
But it is noted that Peter Lund’s passion for caves, which led him to so many discoveries, as well as Honorina’s passion for the cave today, are the same. In the company of her and another local guide, it was very good to notice the commitment that she showed us all the rooms, formations and curiosities about the cave.
And obviously, we were all delighted. In this itinerary of caves on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte, Rei do Mato was the cave that impressed me the most.
Check out why in the photos and curiosities below.
One of the largest caves in Minas Gerais
1 – Gruta Rei do Mato is considered one of the largest caves in Minas Gerais. It is 998 meters long, but only 220 meters can be visited through walkways and staircases. The cave has a depth of 30 meters. Don’t even think about dropping anything from the catwalks.
2 – The name of the cave would be due to a hermit who would have lived inside the cave. The man’s identity is ignored. There are those who also say that the man was a fugitive from the 30’s Revolution. But nothing proved, they are just stories that the people tell.
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3 – The first room is called Salão da Couve Flor, because it has a similar formation to the vegetable. The other halls are called the Hall of Collapsed Blocks, the Great Hall and the Hall of Rarities.
4 – The Pontas Quebradas Stactites Gallery, which were formerly vandalized by people for commercial exploitation.
5 – Keep an eye out because some formations have curious designs, such as the Sorvetão (in the shape of a large ice cream cone) or the Lion’s Head.
6 – All lighting is done with LED lamps, which are cold lamps that cause less impact on formations. In the past, the use of hot lamps caused the formation of lichens in the formations, which prevent the growth of speleothems.
The formation of speleothems
For those who don’t know, speleothems are the general name given to stalactites (which grow in the ceiling) and stalagmites (which grow in the ground). But there are several other types of formations found in the caves of Minas Gerais.
7 – Gruta Rei do Mato is considered a “living” cave, as it is in a continuous process of transformation. Keep an eye out and you can see drops falling from its stalactites and there is also a baby stalagmite. Water is the main responsible for these formations.
8 – Avoid touching any of the speleothems (stalactites or stalagmites). You can stop a formation process that takes millions of years.
9 – The cave has a very rare formation, the only one in Brazil. The speleothem is made up of two twin columns (columns occur when stalactites and stalagmites come together). They are parallel columns with a diameter of approximately 25 centimeters and 12 meters in height. They are located in the last hall, the Hall of Rarities which also has the biggest stalactite in the grotto, which weighs 1 ton.
10 – At Grutinha, next to Rei do Mato, you can find cave paintings that are over 6,000 years old. The paintings were made with blood and vegetable fat. The state of conservation, however, is worse than what we saw in the Peruaçu Caves.
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- Visitation is restricted to groups of 20 people per group, always accompanied by a guide. The visit lasts about 1 hour.
- Access is only allowed with closed shoes. Flip-flops, sandals or open shoes are not allowed.
- Children from 6 years old can visit the cave, as long as they are accompanied by a guardian. The cave hosts several school groups and works as a great educational program.
Tour: Rei do Mato State Natural Monument
Directed by: Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais
Production: R$ 25.00, from 9 am to 4 pm (last group)
Photography: Fabio Pastorello
The best: The lighting guarantees good visibility to the beautiful formations of the cave, and the colors bring even more beauty
The worst: The route involves some slopes and stairs, but nothing that involves a lot of physical effort
King do Mato Grotto
Email: [email protected]
Also read: Cordisburgo – Casa Guimarães Rosa Museum and Maquiné Cave
Note: Viagens Cine traveled to Minas Gerais at the invitation of SETUR-MG, but our opinions are independent and the result of our experience there. The press trip was accompanied by the blogs Boralá and Trilhas e Aventuras and the Revista Viajar pelo Mundo.
Check out what to do and a 3-day itinerary in Belo Horizonte on the Grutas Route
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