The Cango Caves are located in the foothills of the Swartberg range 29km from the town of Oudtshoorn. 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 four kilometres, only about a quarter of this is open to visitors, who may proceed into the cave only in groups supervised by a guide.
The caves were discovered in 1780 by a local farmer named Jacobus Van Zyl. The chamber he first was lowered down into (Van Zyl Hall, which is as long as a football field), is named in his honor. Further exploration was done and a second chamber discovered in 1792. The caves soon became a popular place to visit.
Tours are conducted at regular intervals on most days—there is a “Standard Tour” which takes an hour and an “Adventure Tour” which takes an hour and a half. The “Adventure Tour” consists of crawling through narrow passages and climbing up steep rock formations guided by small lights. The caves contain halls and limestone formations (on both tours) as well as small passages on the Adventure Tour. The smallest passage that tourists will have to pass through on the Adventure Tour is just under 15 cm to exit.