Travel More. Live More.
The Travel Well Guide
The Cango Caves
City: Western Cape State: N/A Country: South Africa
The Cango Caves are located in Precambrian limestones at the foothills of the Swartberg range near the town of Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The principal cave is one of the country's finest, best known and most popular tourist caves and attracts many visitors from overseas. Although the extensive system of tunnels and chambers go on for over four kilometers, only about a quarter of this is open to visitors, who may proceed into the cave only in groups supervised by a guide. Tours are conducted at regular intervals on most days - there is a "Standard Tour" which takes an hour and an "Adventure Tour" which takes an hour and a half. The "Adventure Tour" consists of crawling through narrow passages and climbing up steep rock formations guided by small lights. The caves contain spectacular halls and grand limestone formations as well as some rather small passages on the Adventure Tour. The smallest passage that tourists will have to pass through on the Adventure Tour is just under 30 cm high at the exit.The caverns formed over millions of years, as water percolated through a narrow ridge of Precambrian limestone that runs parallel to the Swartberg Mountains. They form an interlinked system that stretches for over 5 km. The largest of the caverns measures an echoey 107 m (350 ft) across and 16 m (52 ft) high. Impressive though this is, it is not the caves' size but their remarkable contents that suck thousands of visitors underground every year. For the Cango Caves contain a truly wondrous showcase of natural art, created by the limestone-laden water that has seeped and dripped its way through these voids over the millennia.Many of the caves bear evocative names, such as the Fairy Queen's Palace and the Throne Room, and visitors are encouraged to apply their imagination to the wondrous sights they encounter. These include everything from impressive collections of stalactites and stalagmites some joined to form mighty stone columns to more unusual helictites, twiggy stone formations that grow in all directions. More impressive still are the subtly coloured flowstones that resemble frozen rivers, and the almost unbelievable stone curtains that hang before your eyes like petrified waterfalls.
Climate | When to Visit
Visit during: February to November
Directions | How to Reach
By Air: Cape Town's international airport is the country's second largest after Johannesburg. There is also an airport in George which offers connections to most major cities in South Africa.By Rail: Spoornet operates regular inter-city trains from Cape Town to Johannesburg, Worcester, Beaufort West and East London.