I do find caves extremely interesting. I went to visit two caves – Sudwala Caves and Echo Caves – when we took a trip to Mpumalanga. There is a chance though that I thought all caves look the same. Of course there will be similarities but I was in for a surprise when we went to the Garden Route in the Western Cape for Christmas holidays.
Located about 29km outside the town of Oudtshoorn, a town in the Klein Karoo, is the Cango Caves. It is about 90km from the city of George. It takes almost an hour and a half to get to the caves but at least you get to drive past the picturesque Outeniqua Pass.
The vision of Cango Caves is “A world class show cave balancing between preservation and presentation” and I think that they are doing a fantastic job. While the two caves previously visited are as interesting, I find Cango Caves quite magnificent and I am sure that you will agree with me.
Some pictures outside of the caves
A little bit of background / history on the caves, taken from their official website:
- First chamber of the caves is named van Zyl’s Hall, after the supposed (according to the myth) first person who explored the caves. Research though fails to reveal anybody by that name in the Cango area in the 1770’s.
- The Caves have been known to man since the Early Stone Age.
- Caves have been at the forefront of tourism in South Africa since the end of the 18th century: the first to be protected by environmental legislation and the first to employ a full-time tourist guide, they remain South Africa’s oldest tourist attraction.
- The 1st law designed to protect an environmental resource in South Africa; it banned the collection of souvenirs, proved for fines for anyone caught damaging Caves formations. This was because visitors would take with them souvenirs in the form of the delicate stalactites and stalagmites. Others ‘immortalized’ their visit by engraving their names on the wall.
For more of the history, do visit Cango Caves’ official website.
There are two tours available to visitors: Heritage Tour and Adventure Tour. We only took the Heritage Tour as children younger than six years of age are not allowed. Similarly, people who are pregnant, or suffer from claustrophobia (like my mother and thus she didn’t even join us for the Heritage Tour), high blood pressure (I would have have gone for the Adventure Tour as I only found out about 6 weeks later that I have hypertension), asthma or any muscular ailments.
The Heritage Tour is the standard tour that almost anyone can experience, except of course if you are awfully claustrophobic like my mother so she stayed behind and shopped at the Curio/Souvenir shop.
- Van Zyl’s Hall – concerts used to be held here but concert goers did quite a bit of vandalizing of the place so there are no more concerts held in the caves.
- Botha’s Hall – for me, this has some of the most magnificent stalactites and stalagmites (video available at the end of the post)
- Rainbow Chamber
- Bridal Chamber
- Fairyland Chamber
- Drum Room
The adventure tour is more challenging, starting from the Heritage Tour and getting more difficult with each chamber. It starts with Jacob’s Ladder which has over 200 steps (going down from the last chamber of the Heritage Tour).
Additional chambers with this tour are the following:
- The Grand Hall
- Lumbago Alley
- King Solomon’s Mines
- The Devil’s Chimney
- The Coffin
- Devil’s Kitchen
- Devil’s Postbox
Below are some videos I took during the Heritage Tour. The sound isn’t the best but audible and the information as told by the guide can be heard.
For this next one (on the way to the 3rd chamber), while very dark, gives an idea of passages from one chamber to another and there’s some humor as a child told her mother to make herself skinny to fit through the passage (about 1 minutes and 20 seconds).
The Bridal Chamber
The African Drum Room
I hope that I was able to entice you to visit the Cango Caves. Wanderlust must not be ignored. 🙂
Thank you for reading and watching.