24 July 2024
Day 8012 February 2020 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

Visited The Cango Caves this morning. They are located in Precambrian  limestones at the foothills of the Swartberg  range near the town of  Oudtshoorn, in the  Western Cape Province of South Africa. The principal cave is one of the country’s finest, best known, and most popular tourist caves and attracts many visitors from overseas.

Although the extensive system of tunnels and chambers go on for over 4 km (2.5 mi), only about a quarter of this is open to visitors, who may proceed into the cave only in groups supervised by a guide.

Cave paintings and artifacts indicate that the caves were in use throughout prehistory over a long period during the Middle and Later Stone Ages .

Please click on any of the images above to enlarge

History of the Caves

The caves were rediscovered in modern times in 1780 by a local farmer named Jacobus Van Zyl. The chamber he first was lowered down into was found to be as long as a football field, and is named Van Zyl Hall in his honor. Further exploration was done and a second chamber discovered in 1792. The caves soon became a popular place to visit.

in 1829 Dr Andrew Smith visited the Cango Caves, which had much to offer his scientific curiosity

A.J.H. Goodwin, an archaeologist at the University of Cape Town, carried out a test excavation in the Cango Caves in 1930 which found stone artefacts and other cultural material.

The Cango Caves Ordinance of 1971 gave certain legal powers over the caves to what was then the Administrator of the Cape; legally, these same powers now devolve to the local government members of the executive. However, day-to-day management of the caves is the responsibility of the municipality of Oudtshoorn.

Legends of the caves

Mr. Johnny van Wassenaer, the cave’s first official guide is purported to have walked 29 hours to find the end of the caves in 1898. When there, he is said to have calculated that he was 25 km (15.5 mi) from the entrance, and 275 m (902 ft) underground; his route apparently followed an underground river. So far, they are finding more and more caves to support this story.

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