Historically, the first white man to have discovered the Caves was Frederick Selous, during his wanderings in 1887. Before this discovery, it's believed the caves were being used as a stronghold by an outlaw by the name of Nyamakwere who murdered many victims by throwing them into the Silent Pool.
The notorious Nyamakwere was eventually defeated and killed by a Headman called Chinhoyi who became a Mashona Chief, hence the name Chinhoyi given to the nearby town. Chief Chinhoyi and his followers used the Caves as a refuge from raiding tribes such as the Matebele. Until a few years ago the remains of Chief Chinhoyi’s grain bins could be seen in some of the underground passages.