Cango Caves

South Africa's Oldest Tourist Attraction

The Cango Caves are South Africa’s oldest tourist attraction with legislation passed in 1820 prohibiting damage to the caves after visitors broke off pieces of the stalactites and wrote their names on the walls. Today the Cango Caves are on the top 10 list of popular tourist attractions in South Africa.


The Cango Caves are situated 30 kilometres north of Oudtshoorn in the Swartberg Mountains of the Western Cape. They form part of the Garden Route and the Little Karoo.

Composition and Dimensions

The caves and passages were formed in the thick underground limestone layer and have spectacular formations of stalactites and stalagmites. The length of the whole cave structure is 775 m long. 

The extent of the caves has not yet been fully mapped but it is estimated to be close to 5 km long. There are secret chambers and passages but only one of the large chambers, Cango 1, is open to the public.

Visitor information

  • Visitors may only go into the caves accompanied by a guide and there are several tours available to cater for the less adventurous visitor and the most daring.
  • In the main building a visitor is introduced to the caves with many videos of the caves especially the ones that are available for public viewing.
  • People who suffer from claustrophobia, asthma, muscular problems or high blood pressure are discouraged from going on the tour of the caves and are warned of the dangers of doing so.
  • Advance booking is essential as there are not enough hours in the day to accommodate all the visitors who have been flocking to this location.
  • The tours are conducted in English but there are Afrikaans , French and German tours available on request.


Archaeological findings show that the caves were occupied by men as far back as the middle and later stone age periods.

Much damage was done to the caves in the 1800 when they became famous but legislation was passed to prohibit the removal of anything from the caves and defacing of any of the structures.The appointment of the first full time guide in 1891 facilitated the protection of this South African Heritage site. The beauty of the caves is world famous and many tourists come from far and wide to visit them.

Open Hours

The Cango Caves is open to the public seven days a week except on Christmas Day.

  •  Weekdays and Weekends, 09h00 to 16h00, Standard Tours of 30 minutes leave on the hour every hour.
  •  Weekdays and Weekends, 9h30 to 15h30, Adventure Tours of 90 minutes leave every hour on the half hour.

It is essential to book either tour in advance.


Please consult their website under Contact Details.


Please note there is no ATM or petrol station at the Cango Caves.

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