Cango Caves - Oudtshoorn
Route 62 - South Africa
The Van Zyl Hall
When visiting Oudtshoorn a visit to the Cango caves is a must.
The caves are situated about 30 kilometres north of the town.
The drive is through low hills covered with lovely green vegetation.
A number of farms can be seen in the valleys between the hills.
One of the farms close to the Caves.
It is very hot and if you are going to do a tour of the caves I
suggest that you wear the appropriate clothing.
Walking shoes, shorts or jeans and a T shirt.
You arrive at the caves quite suddenly and have to find parking
on the terraced parking areas that have been built up to
the entrance to the cave.
Try and park as high up as possible otherwise you have quite a
long steep walk up to the entrance. In summer it can be really hot.
In the years gone by the entrance to the cave was via a narrow path
and you entered through a narrow doorway.
This is no longer the case as a modern building of four storeys
has been built to accommodate visitors to one of SA's important
Twelve million Rand was spent on an upmarket restaurant,
Marimba coffee bar and a foodcourt. A Kraal Kraft theme curio
shop has also been built.The buildings are very user friendly with large ramps for those
who are in wheelchairs. Unfortunately wheelchairs are not
able to enter the caves.
(On special request you might be able to take a back route
into the main chamber with a wheelchair but don't quote me here.)
There are a number of tours into the caves and they leave
at different times .
There is the short scenic tour that goes into the entrance hall
and the main cave near the entrance.
Be ready to climb down a long slippery staircase into the first
cave. These stairs are the main problem for wheelchairs.
The entrance hall used to be inhabited by bats. Today there is a
display of the bushmen who lived in the caves in the past.
The Bushmen (San) display.
There also maps showing the layout of the caves in this area.
The next tour is called the Standard tour and takes you to the
stairwell leading up to the chimney.
It is about a kilometre walk through the caves to get there.
The third tour is called the Adventure tour and takes you through
the whole cave. It is a relatively long walk which can be back
breaking at times when you have to creep along and through low
tunnels for 50 or 60 metres.
The post box and the chimney can be quite daunting if you are a
little large as you are required to climb up a narrow body hugging
tunnel. Once in it you have to go up to get out.
The tour guides for this section of the tour have lots
of fun trying to get people who get stuck out of the tunnel.
The trick is to keep your hands above your head when entering the
narrow parts and not to panic if you do wedge yourself in.
A little bit of maneuvouring will get you through.
The walk back to the entrance follows more or less the same route
as you used into the caves.
One of the pillars created over millions of years by dripping water.
All in all the caves are quite spectacular with many large stalactite
and stalacmites formations to see. Some of them are quite
magnificent and have been given names such as the organ pipes.
The Van Zyl cave near the entrance is absolutely massive and has been
used on occasion for concerts as the acoustics are very good.
This has not been done for a while though as a build up of carbon
dioxide causes the formations to turn green with algae.
A formation in the caves known as the Organ Pipes
To show you what the cave must have looked like to the farmer who
discovered them they put off all the lights and you are thrown
into darkness so thick that you cannot see your hand in
front of your face.
They then switch on a small light which is the equivalent of the
candle which was used by the farmer when he first entered the cave.
Recently further exploration in the caves has revealed more caverns
with even more beautiful formations than in the first part of the cave.
These will not be opened to the public.
If you don't like enclosed spaces do the first tour and then leave.
If you are reasonably fit take the second one.
If you are adventurous take the third and longest one and have
some fun in the post box.
Before leaving the area explore the town of Oudtshoorn
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Cango Caves Oudtshoorn
Page updated 11.5.2015