Cango Caves

Dramatically lit limestone chambers inside the Cango Caves.

The Cango Caves are located deep in the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains.

A tour or safari that includes the charming green byways of the Garden Route may also comprise a visit to the bewitching world of the Cango Caves. Sculpted deep into the foothills of the Swartberg a few minutes from the Little Karoo town of Oudtshoorn, the Cango Caves are the most popular and best known caves in the country.

With 26 Precambrian limestone chambers, the dripstone caverns are magically lit to elicit the most striking visuals from the stalactite and stalagmite formations. Upon entering the caves, guests are greeted with increased humidity and a rather pleasant musty scent. Van Zyl’s hall, named after the local South African farmer who first discovered the caves, is around the size of a football field and will take your breath away. Other caves visited in the tour include the Rainbow Chamber, the Drum Room and the Bridal Chamber.

The Cango Caves are South Africa’s oldest tourist attraction, with visitors first arriving at the remarkable natural feature in the 1800s. Early tourists damaged the caves by breaking off souvenirs and scribbling their names on the limestone walls. The government responded with strict regulations that have since protected the natural dignity of the caves.

Today guests can choose between two options as part of their South African tour. The Heritage Tour is an easy hour-long trek between Van Zyl Hall and Botha Hall. This tour is suitable for any level of fitness and essentially all ages. For thrill-seekers, the Adventure Tour is a must. 90 minutes long, the tour explores the entirety of Cango 1 and requires participants to be moderately fit. Visitors who tend to become claustrophobic or have back problems should refrain from taking part as the narrowest passage in the tour is slightly wider than 30cm and requires quite a tight crawl.

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