29km from Oudtshoorn, at the head of the picturesque Cango Valley, lie the spectacular underground wonder of the Klein Karoo – the Cango Caves. Situated in a limestone ridge parallel to the well-known Swartberg Mountains, you will find the finest dripstone caverns, with their vast halls and towering formations.
Cango Caves is the only show cave in Africa which offers a choice of Heritage (easy) or Adventure Tours. All tours are lead by experienced, knowledgeable and accredited Caves Guides. All tours are offered in English but Afrikaans, German, French and other language options may be available (please check language availability when making reservations).
A world class show cave balancing between preservation and presentation.
To manage the Cango Caves as a national asset for the inhabitants of South Africa and its future generations AND to proudly present the Caves as a true South African landmark to our foreign visitors.
The purpose of the Association is to guarantee, on the one hand, the respect and the safeguard of the subterranean environment and its natural wonder while on the other hand it aims at promoting the economic development of the caves by supplying to all its members (i.e. the show caves). Heritage Tour Information:
All tours are led by experienced, knowledgeable and accredited Caves Guides. All tours are offered in English but Afrikaans, German, French and other language guide may be available (please check guide availability when making reservations).
09:00 – 16:00
Tours depart every hour on the hour
Adults: R 120.00
Children: R 75.00
Duration: 60 min
Rates are valid from 1 July 2018 – 30 June 2019
What to expect on the Heritage Tour:
Upon entering the entrance chamber, one is immediately conscious of the increased humidity and pleasantly warm temperature. A faint musty odour may point to the presence of a small colony of bats which still make the cave their home.
You catch your breath as the first view of VAN ZYL’S HALL opens before you. Ancient stalactites, aptly known as the dried tobacco leaves of Oudtshoorn, festoon the grey-blue of the limestone ceiling. This spacious hall is over 90 metres long, 50 metres wide at its widest point, and between 14 and 18 metres high. Nearly 100 metres of solid limestone roof separates the cavern from the ridgecrest above.
Leaving Van Zyl’s Hall through a wide passageway, you enter the spectacular BOTHA’S HALL, with its decorative side-chamber, The Throne Room. Glancing to the left as we enter Botha’s Hall, we see a formation resembling the beak of a Giant Eagle, feeding its chick. Botha’s Hall is dominated by two completed columns soaring upwards to the ceiling.
Leaving the Throne Room and Botha’s Hall, you ascend a staircase, pass a hollowed-out stalagmite known as The Pulpit, then proceed through a narrow passageway into the RAINBOW CHAMBER.
Against the back wall, in the eerie glow of lights, we make out the head of Old Nick, the tame Cave Devil, posed in profile. Immediately above the viewing platform, bathed in soft, blue light, is the cavern’s Biblical Section. High against the wall we may see an open Family Bible.
Beside it, the Outstretched Lost Wing of an Angel. Below, directly in front of the viewing platform, is another hollowed-out stalagmite known as The Christening Font.
A flight of steps leads into the BRIDAL CHAMBER with its fourteen-post bridal bed. The bride may be spotted in the kitchen to the rear, sitting on a low stool and weeping quietly to herself. A clue to her tears may be found in the Peach Brandy Bottle, prominently displayed on a rock mantlepiece. Active stalactites drip constantly from the low roof above.
Fairyland, the next chamber, provides fantasy for the younger generation. Coloured lights illumine the Fairy Queen’s Palace (or Cathedral), The Fairy Castle, an inverted Sunflower, and even the bizarre ‘upper plate’ of an enormous set of dentures. Here, too, the first helictites may be observed, twisting against the ceiling in frozen motion.
The Drum Room, 500 metres from the entrance, provides the first major turn-back point on HERITAGE TOUR. In this chamber there is also a striking example of a translucent formation. Alongside it a stalagmite resembling a Bushman hut lends fantasy to the presentation of “Sunrise and Sunset over darkest Africa”.
What you need to know about the Adventure tour:
The adventure tour has the same starting point as the
Heritage tour but continues to lead deeper into the cave. At the end of the Heritage tour you will descend to where the 30 minutes of adventure starts….
From this point the tour becomes progressively more difficult. JACOB’S LADDER, with its over 2OO steps, leads through THE GRAND HALL into THE AVENUE, and then the low confines of LUMBAGO ALLEY.
Towards the end of the Grand Hall you will pass LOT’S CHAMBER, where a group of stalagmites represent the biblical Lot, his two daughters, and his wife, who turned into a pillar of salt. Alongside the viewing platform is another hollowed-out stalagmite known as King Arthur’s Throne.
Beyond THE AVENUE you enter LUMBAGO ALLEY. It is 85 metres long. For the most part the roof is low and for 28 metres of the Lumbago Walk the roof height seldom exceeds 1,2 metres.
Emerging from this tunnel you can glimpse delicate roof crystals and get to view some of the lovely smaller grottos.
The roof of the Crystal Palace is decorated with “Hanging crystal gardens”, adorned with ice-like crystals and weirdly contorted helictites. A light to the left reveals a translucent crystal wall.
Moving on to the next chamber, you pass an active candle-wax column in delicate golden hues.
Steps lead downwards into the cellar-like chambers of KING SOLOMON’S MINES. The cavern gets its name from a formation high up near the roof, resembling a rotund king with a bearded face, wearing a crystal crown. His throne is mounted on an inverted Protea, South Africa’s national flower.
Alongside the throne, much to the children’s delight, hangs a gigantic ice-cream cone. The roof of this chamber is decorated with a fantasy of amazing helictites.
An iron ladder ascends from King Solomon’s Mines into the unique caving adventure of The Devil’s Chimney section. First you must crawl through THE TUNNEL OF LOVE, a low passageway some 74 centimetres high, narrowing at one point to about 3O centimetres, where stouter cavers are apt to receive a loving squeeze!
This tunnel brings you to THE ICE CHAMBER, with its fascinating shelfstone ledge high around the outer wall. This ledge indicates the level of a cave pool from a bygone age. The pool’s level ultimately subsided, leaving only a shallow pool in the cavern today.
Next comes THE COFFIN, a hexagonally-shaped hole in the shelfstone, which is the beginning and end of the final circular route. The cave opens out again as we pass through the ICE-CREAM
PARLOUR into the colourful beauty of the DEVIL’S WORKSHOP. The brilliantly-coloured ceiling is decorated with many delicate helictites.
The way ahead leads over a steep hump, which leads you into the DEVIL’S KITCHEN, with its notorious DEVIL’S CHIMNEY. The guide points to a narrow crack in the wall – surely someone’s idea of a joke! But no, this is the DEVIL’S CHIMNEY. Peering in you see a steep shaft about 45 centimetres wide which leads upwards for some 3,5 metres. There is a light at the top. Amidst an assortment of grunts, groans and, usually, hysterical laughter you squirm through the chimney into another larger chamber, only to be confronted by an even smaller opening.
Using ‘Leopard Crawl’ to wriggle forward you approach a low, wide slot – the only exit route. It is only 27 centimetres high.
Some guides recommend a head-first ‘posting’, which may be likened to a rebirth experience, as one emerges infant-like from the narrow crevice. The alternative of feet-first results in an easy slide (depending on girth or chest-size) down the smooth, sloping wall and being deposited on the flowstone floor below. You have now reached the furthest point of the tour.
A short scramble leads you back to the Coffin, through the Ice Chamber and Tunnel of Love and back down the iron ladder into King Solomon’s Mines and back along the previous route, emerging into the welcome light of day at the cave entrance.
CANGO WILDLIFE RANCH:
The Cango Wildlife Ranch is perfect for a family outing. Guided tours are given daily around the premises. Learn more about the facts and fiction of the crocodiles, view elegant cheetahs and giggle at the antics of the Bengal tiger cubs.
For the adventurous they offer face to face encounters with wildlife in the Natural Encounters programme where you can touch a cheetah, enjoy the closeness of a tiger cub, wrap yourself in a python and even dive with Nile crocodiles.
Season Times: 08:00 – 17:00 • Out of Season Times: 08:00 – 16:30
You can also stroke a Cheetah:
(You must be 16 years and older)
There are no set times for tours.
OSTRICH SHOW FARMS:
Visit one of our three well known ostrich show farms the area. They offer you a complete ostrich package example:
• Stroking and riding an ostrich • Eating ostrich eggs • Eating ostrich meat •
• Buying souvenirs from the curio shops •
SWARTBERG MOUNTAIN RANGE:
This part is acknowledged as a World Heritage Site by the Cape Nature Conservation. The crest route will take you along the Swartberg Mountain Range for some 50km. At last 4x4ers can go to Hell! Not fire and brimstone, but Die Hel, also known as Gamkaskloof, deep in the Swartberg mountains.
Grant M. Mc Ilrath – The Meerkat Man – has spent most of his life (currently over 12 years) studying wild meerkats / suricates in the field. He will be your guide on a Sunrise Tour in The Meerkat Magic Valley of The Meerkat Magic Project in Oudtshoorn, giving a Live Unedited Wildlife Documentary presentation with The Ungulungu WILD UNFED FREE ETHICALLY HABITUATED meerkat/suricate study group.
The Meerkat Magic Project is the only place in the world, where guests can get very close to this sub-species of the three recognised WILD meerkat / suricate sub-species without disturbing them with The Meerkat Man on a Sunrise and Sunset Tour!
Your visit helps fund the only Wild meerkat / suricate conservation in the world!
LE ROUX TOWNHOUSE:
The house was built in 1909, when Oudtshoorn was during the second Ostrich Feather Boom (1900 -1914). Money being no object, the brief for this Townhouse was that it be designed by one of Oudtshoorn’ s best-known architects, with the most modern innovations, and built with the best of imported and local materials.
The Le Roux Townhouse is situated in High Street, between Church and St Saviour Street.
Monday – Friday: 09:00 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 17:00
Experience a real town house.
Arbeidsgenot is the home of C.J. Langenhoven, known as the father of the Afrikaans Language.
217 Jan van Riebeeckweg – Oudtshoorn
Days: Monday to Friday
Time: 09:30 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 17:00
C.P. NEL MUSEUM
In 1972 the CP Nel collection was brought to its present home – the former Oudtshoorn Boys’ High School. Because of this, the sandstone building, with its beautiful clock tower, was saved from demolition. The building dates to the second “ostrich feather boom” (1900 – 1914) and was declared a National Monument in 1981.
Monday to Saturday 9:00 – 17:00