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*All distances listed are as the crow flies, and not actual travel distances.
One of South Africa’s national assets, the Cango Caves is a cave system located at the base of the Swartberg Mountains in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. The caves extend for several kilometres and were formed through the gradual erosion of limestone rock, leaving behind a network of caverns, columns and a beautiful array of dripstone stalactite, stalagmite and helictite formations.
The caves were officially discovered in 1780 by a local farmer who was bravely lowered into the main chamber using only ropes and a flimsy oil lantern but there is evidence that South Africa’s first nation, the San, had used the caves well before this time.
The temperature in the caves is a constant 18° Celsius and they are open to the public all year round, with the exception of Christmas day. Two tours are offered; the standard 1 hour tour and an extended, and more exciting, 90 minute adventure tour. Both tours are led by accredited guides.
Those interested in knowing more about the area’s geology and the archaeological discoveries made here should visit the Interpretive Centre. There is also an information centre, restaurant and coffee shop on the premises. The restaurant serves ostrich which is bred on the surrounding farms and has excellent views of the Cango Valley.
In 2007, a woman was trapped for 10 hours and rescuers were forced to chip away part of the rock to eventually free her. Since this incident, the adventure tour is available to only the fit and the non-claustrophobic, and is off limits to pregnant ladies.
Colourful lighting has been tastefully positioned throughout the caves to highlight the many beautiful formations created exclusively by nature. The 20 million-year old caves are an absolute wonderland and worth the 75 minute drive from the George Airport.