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TTake 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 this incredible subterranean world.
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. There are two types of tour on offer. The Adventure Tour is not for the faint-hearted, but if you're reasonably fit and healthy, steady your nerves, hold your breath, and take the plunge into Africa’s largest cave. If you’re claustrophobic the 60 minute Heritage tour takes an easier route through the cave system.
OOn the Adventure Tour, 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 90 minutes, but 90 minutes that you’ll never forget! Explore underground wonders such as bizarre rock formations, stunningly beautiful helictites and crystals, cave pools and peaceful grottos.
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.
Although it’s the most exciting route through the cave system, the Adventure Tour should be undertaken with caution. The tour is not suitable for pregnant women, or those who suffer from claustrophobia, high blood pressure or asthma.
The Heritage Tour will take you into the entrance of the cave and through various chambers including Van Zyl’s hall. At nearly 90 metres long and 50 metres wide, this hall boasts ancient stalactite formations that will take your breath away, and that’s only the beginning.
Tours are offered in English but other languages, including French, German and Afrikaans, are offered depending on guide availability. As the tours are incredibly popular, booking in advance is essential.
TTravel tips and planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 44 272 7410
Fax: +27 44 272 8001
How to get here
The caves are 29km north of Oudtshoorn on the R328. George, 50km away, has the closest airport.
Best time to visit
The Cango Caves are open all year between 9.30am to 5pm except on Christmas Day.
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.
Depending on the tour you choose, you’ll get around on foot, on your tummy, on your bum and by the tips of your fingers.
What will it cost?
This will depend on the tour you choose. Visit the website for up-to-date information on costs
Length of stay
The Heritage Tour is about 60 minutes and the Adventure Tour lasts for 90 minutes.
What to pack
Wear comfortable walking shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty in.
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
The Cango Caves Restaurant offers freshly prepared meals with breathtaking views of the Cango Valley.