The Cango Caves – an underground wonderland. © South African Tourism

Take the plunge and sign up for the Cango Caves Adventure Tour. You’ll enter a mysterious and strangely beautiful underground world of fascinating rock formations, cellar-like chambers and low passageways. Be prepared to crawl, duck and squeeze your way through a fascinating subterranean world.

Did you know?

The 9m tall Cleopatra’s Needle rock formation is more than 150 000 years old.

The Cango Caves Adventure Tour is not for the fainthearted, but if you're reasonably fit and healthy, steady your nerves, hold your breath, tuck that tummy in and go deep into Africa’s largest cave.

An accredited, experienced and knowledgeable caving guide will take you deep inside the cave, which, when it was first discovered, would have taken about nine hours to explore. Today, it’s a mere two hours, but two hours that you’ll never forget! Explore underground wonders such as bizarre rock formations, stunningly beautiful helictites and crystals, cave pools and peaceful grottos.

The Cango Caves lie in a Precambrian limestone ridge adjacent to the Swartberg Mountains in the Cango valley, just 29km from the small town of Oudtshoorn in the Klein Karoo.

Thousands of visitors a year take the standard tour into Cango 1, which comprises just 1,2km of the entire 5,3km-long cave. On the standard tour you will see the star attractions – Cleopatra’s Needle, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Madonna and Child – but when the standard tour is over, the adventure tour begins.

First tackle the 200 steps of Jacob’s Ladder to the Grand Hall before passing through Lot’s Chamber where natural rock formations mimic the biblical Lot and his wife, who were turned into pillars of salt.

The names of attractions along the route give a clue as to what lies in store. There’s Lumbago Alley, the Crystal Palace, King Solomon’s Mines and the Devil’s Chimney. Then into and through the Coffin, the Ice-Cream Parlour, the Devil’s Workshop, and then – hold that breath even tighter – it’s time to wriggle through the 27cm-high Leopard Crawl, the only exit route.

Phew! Then it’s daylight and back to the real world.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Cango Caves
Tel: +27 (0)44 272 7410

How to get here

The caves are 29km north of Oudtshoorn on the R328. George, 50km away, has the closest airport.

Around the area

Oudsthoorn is part of the famous Garden Route, so attractions such as the Tsitsikamma Forest, Wilderness, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Mossel Bay are all within easy driving distance.

Get around

On foot, on your tummy, on your bum and by the tips of your fingers.

What will it cost

Approx. R100 per person; R60 per child under 15. No children under 6 permitted on the tour.

Length of stay

The tour takes about two hours.

What to pack

Your nerve, along with some comfortable walking shoes.

Where to stay

There's a variety of accommodation available in Oudtshoorn ranging from cosy B&Bs to guest farms and hotels.

What to eat

As little as possible. You will want to be thin for this tour!