Last week I posted about our visit to the Cango Ostrich Farm and how it brought back so many memories of my own childhood holiday to Oudtshoorn. Today’s destination is another walk down memory lane for me… albeit a rather hazy one!
While we found ourselves in Oudtshoorn I was determined that we should visit the Cango Caves as I have vague recollections of visiting as a kid and being bitterly disappointed when we turned around JUST when things were getting exciting.
Located 29km from Oudtshoorn, at end of the road through the picturesque Cango Valley, these spectacular underground caves are some of the finest dripstone caverns in the world. But, as we drove up to the entrance, nothing was familiar to me…
OK so it has been just less than 30 years since my last visit, I’m pretty sure things change – although probably not the caves themselves, maybe just the parking area and curio shop!
Running a bit late for a scheduled time slot, we raced in to catch the tail end of our group congregating in the entrance area of the caves and, despite the freezing temperatures and snow on the mountains outside, it was pleasantly warm inside. In fact the first few photos I took didn’t come out as my camera lens misted over!!
Anyway, as we progressed down the dark stairway into the main chamber of the caves I started to recall various aspects… The story of the first person to descend into the main area of the cave with only a small lamp, the difference between the stalactites and stalacmites and the beautiful “throne” room were familiar to me and I was thrilled to introduce my kids to it all.
Unfortunately, once again, I didn’t get to embark on the adventurous tour and stuck with the safer option – the Heritage Tour – which led us through the impressive Van Zyl’s Hall of ancient stalactites, onto the beautiful Botha’s Hall, home to the impressive Throne Room. We followed the stairs into the Rainbow Chamber and then into the Bridal chamber, with its fourteen-post bridal bed and where active stalactites still drip constantly from the low roof above.
My kids were fascinated and took it all in, even asking the guide questions along the way!
But despite only going on the easier and tamer tour, we all really enjoyed our “caving” adventure. These caves really are a national treasure in South Africa – one everyone should visit. Here’s hoping all the administration nightmares they have recently been experiencing are over for the time being, and the future!
All tours are lead by experienced, knowledgeable and accredited guides.In order to conserve and preserve the Cango Caves, a limited amount of visitors are allowed in for each touring option time slot. Booking in advance is essential to guarantee your place.
Tel: 044 272 7410044 272 7410
Images: Kathryn Rossiter