Spelunking in the Cango Caves

An interior view of the magnificent Cango Caves.
If you are looking for an exciting adventure activity while exploring Oudtshoorn in the Garden Route, make sure you do not miss the chance to go caving or spelunking in the Cango Caves. The Cango Caves are located 29 kilometres (18 miles) outside of the Klein Karoo town of Oudtshoorn on the R328 heading out of town towards Prince Albert. A popular tourist attraction, a visit to the Cango Caves takes one into the underground limestone ridge that runs parallel to the Swartberg Mountains.

The Cango Caves are the only 'show cave' in Africa and visitors are able to choose from the Standard Tour or the Adventure Tour. For those with a sense of adventure who are looking for an activity that is sure to get the adrenalin pumping, we recommend the Adventure Tour.

The 90 minute adventure tour runs every hour on the half hour from 09h30 - 15h30. A friendly guide takes you spelunking (also known as caving or potholing) down into the caves. The small group heads, along the same path as the standard tour but soon ventures away along another path, venturing into the limestone caves where towering stalagmite and stalactite formations are found hidden away in beautiful dripstone caverns in vast echoing halls.

The deeper you head into the caves the more your heart begins to race and the more challenging the progression becomes. Heading up the 200 steps of Jacob's Ladder you enter into the Grand Hall and on to the avenue, past Lot's Chamber where a group of stalagmites are said to look like the bibilical characters Lot and his family when they were turned to salt.All around you echoes or dripping water and ghostly noises bounce off the walls echoing on and one until they eventually disappear. Crystals hang from the ceilings and stretch up towards to roof as you bend double to pass through the Lumbago Walk where the ceiling is only 1.2 metres high.

Cleverly lit up walls present a beautiful display of translucent crystals, taking your breath away and adding to the eerie feeling of the caves as you shiver, suddenly realising it has gotten colder as you have moved deeper and deeper into the caves.

Wandering past magnificent formations you scramble up a ladder and head through the low 74 centimetre high tunnel of love before squeezing through into the Devil's Chimney. Suddenly that extra spoonful of ice-cream you had at lunch becomes noticeable as you feel the cave walls squeezing in around you as you wriggle and squirm your way through to the other side.

Breathing deeply you feel lucky to have survived the ordeal as you are guided into the coffin and on through the ice-cream parlour where finally the cave begins to open out as you reach the beautifully colourful Devil's Workshop and finally resurface into day light.Find accommodation options in our Oudtshoorn Travel Guide
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