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Fun and adventure for the whole family – all in one… cave?! (Part two)

Missed part one? Read it here.

The Cango Caves, in South Africa’s Klein Karoo, is the perfect stop while on your fun filled family road trip. You’ll find enormous caverns, huge (and still active) stalagmites and stalactites, walls of crystal and an ancient connection to ancestors who lived at the cave entrance hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Cango Caves, cave

The start of the Devil’s Chimney…

You’ll also find the perfect souvenir of your expedition at the curio shop, scientific information about the geology and history of the caves at the Interpretive Center and general info on nearby Oudtshoorn and surrounds at the Information Center. And you’ll find sumptuous ostrich dishes, traditional boboties, line fish and delectable Karoo lamb at the restaurant – traditional South African fare to fill the caverns of your tummy after working up an appetite with the Adventure Tour of the Cango Caves.

The Adventure Tour is an extension of the Heritage Tour, which takes visitors through the magical first 500m of the network of caves and is accessible to all family members (please note that there is no wheelchair access). Then the Adventure Tour challenges you to explore a bit further. The entire cave system stretches over 4km, of which roughly 25% is open to visitors. The vast network of cavernous halls is decorated with towering stalagmites and gravity defying stalactites, and are connected by winding tunnels and walkways.

This tour begins where the Heritage Tour turns back to the surface – in the Drum Room. Clamber down the 200 steps of Jacob’s Ladder into the Grand Hall. You’ll pass biblical Lot, his daughters and wife – who turned into a pillar of salt – in Lot’s Chamber. A large, hollowed out stalagmite takes on the form of King Arthur’s Throne in this Hall.

The Adventure Tour is not for those who get nervous in small spaces!

The Adventure Tour is not for those who get nervous in small spaces!

The Avenue leads you to Lumbago Alley. The roof of this 85m walkway is very low. In fact, it hardly exceeds a height of 1.2m for a length of almost 28m! Hanging crystal ‘gardens’ and a semi-transparent crystal wall will take your breath away in the Crystal Palace. Climb down more steps into King Solomon’s Mines, where a stout king sits upon his throne, which takes the shape of an inverted Protea – the national flower of South Africa.

From here you climb into the Devil’s Chimney. To reach it, you must first crawl through a passage 74cm high, that shrinks to only 30cm at one point. As the rock walls are literally ‘hugging’ cavers, this is known as the Tunnel of Love. You emerge in the Ice Chamber before moving through the Coffin and Ice-Cream Parlor into the Devil’s Workshop where delicate helictites hang from the colorfully lit ceiling.

A steep hump takes you to the Devil’s Kitchen. From here you squirm up a steep, 45cm wide shaft for about 3.5m. This is the notorious Devil’s Chimney. And just when you think that you’ve reached the end of your great caving adventure, you realize that the only exit lies at the other end of the Devil’s Post Box… Slide on through the 27cm high slot and you’ve reached the furthest point accessible to the public.

From here you trek back through the Coffin, Ice Chamber and Tunnel of Love to King Solomon’s Mines and follow the original route back to daylight, fresh air and open spaces.

Courier yourself through the Devil's Postbox at the end of the tour.

Courier yourself through the Devil’s Postbox at the end of the tour.

Nobody knows if the caves were first explored by Johnny Wassenaar or Jacobus van Zyl, but we do know that they are South Africa’s oldest tourist attraction. The Cango Caves have been on visitors’ to-do lists since the late 18th century, they are the first to be protected by South African environmental legislation and the first to employ a tour guide full time.

Make sure that the Cango Caves are on your to-do list when road tripping down South Africa’s Route 62 or through the Garden Route. You must pre-book your adventure, but we can discuss that when you plan your South African self-drive vacation with us. We’ll assist and advise you on all aspects of your trip: from what car to rent and what region to travel to, to where to eat sleep and play. Click here to find out more.

If you would like to visit the caves, please keep in mind that the Adventure Tour is not suitable for children under the age of 6, pregnant women, sufferers of claustrophobia, high blood pressure, asthma or muscular ailments.


Info from www.cango-caves.co.za and Wikipedia.

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