The history of the Cango Caves

Posted by Anita Froneman on 6 April 2020

South Africa boasts a multitude of caverns and caves, with one of its most popular sites being the Cango Caves in the Karoo.


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#Repost @nicholasjsenn (with @report.for.insta) … The Cango Caves are located in Precambrian limestones at the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains. The principal cave is one of South Africa’s most popular caves. While the extensive system of tunnels and chambers goes on for over 4 kilometers, only about a quarter of this is open to visitors. Guided tours are required. ____ Oudtshoorn, WC, South Africa 🇿🇦 February 2020

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The caves are located on a limestone belt about 1,5km wide and almost 16km long in the Swartberg Mountains just north of Oudtshoorn.

Stalactites (hanging columns), stalagmites (columns growing upwards) and helictites (columns which grow in all directions) are all features of the magnificent cave system.


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MEDIA RELEASE – SUSPENSION OF TOURS AT CANGO CAVES Oudtshoorn, 17 March 2020 – There is no higher priority than the safety of our guests and staff. Since the onset of COVID-19, Cango Caves have followed the guidelines of national and provincial authorities. In light of the President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Declaration of a National Disaster to limit public social activities, Cango Caves will suspend operations from Wednesday, 18 March to 1 April 2020. We will continue to closely monitor this evolving situation and will re-evaluate as needed. There have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Cango Caves. If you have a pre-paid reservation for a tour during one of the days we are now closed, please call us at 044-272 7410 between 9am and 4pm and we will reschedule for another date or refund your booking. We apologise for the inconvenience. Please follow us on Social Media for updates. ALISON MOOS OPERATIONS MANAGER CANGO CAVES E: [email protected] T: 044-272 7410 F: 044-272 8001 @satsa_official @visitsouthafrica_uk @albatrosafrica @detourafrica @planetaafricatravel @africanlink @earthstompers @toursforsouthafrica @africa.incoming @africantravel @dirtybootsadventure @nomadadventuretours @southern_africa_360 @aaatravelafrica @thompsonsafrica @thompsonsholidays @springbokatlastours @hyltonrosstour @meetsouthafrica.india @geckotours @jarattours @yengwa_tours_adventures @tourismtattler @paradisetouring @tourvestdm @meetsouthafrica.france @toptoursknysna @urvitours @departmentoftourism_ @hotspots2c @southafricaanz @shotleft @meetsouthafrica @southafricantourismchina @exclusiveafrica @bazbus_sa @southafrica @brochuremanagementkleinkaroo @gotravelbug @brentonbluetours

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The chambers show evidence of early San inhabitation and contain various San rock paintings. Researchers believe that the caves were later discovered by a herder in search of lost cattle, and after that explored extensively by local farmer Jacobus van Zylin 1780, after whom the first hall is named.

The caves quickly became a popular tourist attraction, suffering much damage at the hands of ignorant visitors vandalising rock paintings or breaking off parts of rock formations.

Only in 1820, Lord Charles Somerset who was the governor of the Western Cape at the time, published the first Caves Regulation designed to protect the environmental resource and ban the collection of souvenirs.

The cave site is South Africa’s oldest tourist attraction and the country’s largest show-cave system.

Sources: and South

Image: Instagram



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