Oudtshoorn, South Africa
Spend time this morning participating in the extra activities available in the resort town of Plettenberg Bay, the winter months offer some of the finest Whale Watching in the world. We journey through the spectacular Outeniqua Mountains toward Oudtshoorn, and we make our way to the Cango Caves where we enjoy a walk with a local guide teaching us all about the about the system of the caves which stretches out for more than 4 kilometres.
A popular belief is that the Cango Caves were initially explored by a local farmer named Jacobus van Zyl (after whom the first chamber, Zyl’s Hall, was named.). However, researches have not been able to reveal anyone by that name who was present in the Cango region in the 1770’s. In any case, it is now widely known that the Caves had been known to man since the Early Stone Age. During the 19th century, the Cango Caves entrance was 5 Rix Dollars, today’s equivalent of R500 (ZAR), but that did not discourage destructive tourists who or carving their named into the Cave walls an callously chipped away at portions of the fragile stalactites and stalagmites to take home as souvenirs. This resulted in Lord Charles Somerset, governor of the Cape Colony, publishing the very first Cave Regulation in 1820. The first law was constructed to protect the environmental resource of South Africa. It prohibited the collection of souvenirs, created fines for anyone found damaging the Caves formation and initiated an entrance fee that was to be paid to the District Officer who was made responsible for implementing these rules. Most of the important discoveries within the Caves were made by its very first full-time guide, Johnnie van Wassenaar, who was employed for 43 until he retired in 1934. He discovered many side chambers and introduced thousands of people to Cango 1, which is the only portion of the Caves that the public may visit. It is clear today that the Caves were known to man long before the Europeans initially landed in the Cape. Evidence of this is in recent findings of numerous tools discovered in the heart of the Cave’s mouth, thus proving that humans had lived and taken shelter here for at least 80,000 years.
Accommodation: Two Per Room: Kleinplaas Resort
Facilities: En-suites Per Room Please visit the website of the accommodation provider for a full list of the facilities offered
Route: Wilderness to Oudtshoorn
Activity Package: Cango Caves basic tour