Cango Caves – Recipes from South Africa
my little boy with place to visit in South Africa

Cango Caves

The Cango Caves is located 26 km north of Oudtshoorn in die Little Karoo, a very warm part of the Western Cape Province. The Cango Caves is a breathtaking underground wonderland and is one of the greatest natural wonders in the world, sculptured by nature itself through the ages. These limestone formations in many different colours were formed over millions of years. The exact time it takes in making these many formations depends on the supply of both water and carbon dioxide

In 1780 a farmer named Van Zyl discovered the caves and lowered himself into the darkness with very poor light of self made candles showing him where to go. He braved the pitch darkness lowering himself 10 meters down into the first chamber, which is about 98 meters long, 49 meters wide and 15 meters high. Stalagmites and stalactites glow everywhere.

The Cango Caves was declared a natural monument in 1938 and one of the caves were opened for tourists. The first chamber was named after Van Zyl, the farmer that discovered this cave. The chamber consists of a variation of dripstone formations including Cleopatra’s Needle (9 meters high and at least 150 000 years old). The roof is a wonderful dark grey with its smoothly sculptured hollows and pendants.

In the second chamber called Cango One you can see a completed column which is about 0.5 meters in diameter and 125 meters high from the ground to the ceiling in the middle of the chamber. Some areas of the cave are so low that you have to bent your knees to walk. The route continues via Jacob’s ladder, stairs that lead to the top, over a chamber that leads to a group of smaller chambers. Here you have to climb a steep ladder that leads to a small hole where you have to crawl through on your hands and knees. At the end you have to sail on your stomach through a letterbox. This is a great experience for those that feel adventurous!

In 1972 three professional cave guides broke through to the second cave and name this Cango Two. An indescribable fairytale world that stretches another 270 meters. In 1975 another extension of about 1 600 meters were discovered and is known as Cango Three. Both Cango Two and Three is not open to the public so its pure crystal beauty can be preserved and protected. The colours are as beautiful and bright as it was when first discovered.

One negative consequence of Cango One being developed and opened to the public is that warm air breathed out by tourists has caused the bright colours to fade over the years. The temperature in the Caves is a warm and humid 18°C.

You can watch a documentary program about Cango Two and Three when you visit the caves. Even though you are not allowed in, you can still experience it …



About the Author Lizel Salter

I was born in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa and grew up in Vereeniging. The first time I left home was in 2002 to go to England on a working holiday. Met my husband halfway around the world, got married in South Africa and now have 2 beautiful children. One boy and one girl... Started writing down recipes I grew up with when I was living in England and love sharing them with others. Buy my downloadable book and keep all the recipes together!