Cango Caves Exploration

If you are visiting South Africa, this IS a must see.

Cango caves – located at the foothills of the Swartberg range near the town of Oudtshoorn in the western cape province of South Africa.

The first hall
The first hall

It is said that the caves were first discovered by a local farmer by the name of Jacobus van Zyl in 1780. The first hall of a series of interconnected caves is named in his memory as the van Zyl’s hall.

Beautiful Stalactites
Beautiful Stalactites

Only about a quarter of the network of caves is open to the public. Also, there is an option of taking the easy route and the adventurous route (which needs one to crawl through crooks and crannies in the caves).

We visited the first 6 chambers (slightly open spaces in a vast network of tunnels). As soon as we entered the caves on a particularly hot day of January, we felt cool. The best time to visit them is autumn as it is not as warm then.

Columns
Stalactites and stalagmites join to form columns

The first chamber was as long as a football field. The caves have amazing acoustics and this hall was used for music concerts in the 80s.

These caves are made of limestone and have deposits of copper, manganese and ferrous oxide giving it green and red colours in places. Many stalactites and stalagmites can be seen and some have even joined to give rise to columns. There are also cave paintings from the later stone ages.

Copper and Manganese deposits
Green and red deposits of copper, manganese and ferrous oxide

The caves in general are very well maintained and the guide with us was very informative too. He sang songs in the !xhosa language to entertain us and also demonstrated the different sounds that echoed through the caves.

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chamber 3

Sadly though, due to some acts of vandalism, only a part of the caves is open to public. A very beautiful site it is indeed.

More updates on travel to South Africa coming up. So long ….. 🙂

 

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