Cango Caves Facts
- Many people consider the most noteworthy fact about the Cango Caves to be their status as the most extensive and best known geological marvel of its kind found anywhere in the region.
- This complex of caves and tunnels also happens to be extremely old. The limestone in which they appear formed during the Precambrian Period, and the caves and tunnels formed approximately 20 million years ago.
- The site remains one of the most popular tourist sites in the region, yet tourists can only access approximately one-fourth of their extent. In addition, tourists can only enter the complex as part of a supervised group.
- The utilization of the Cango Caves began long ago. Stone artifacts found within the caves indicate that primitive man used them for shelter in both the Middle and Late Stone Age.
Cango Caves Physical Description
The remarkable Cango Caves consist of a series of an extensive series of hidden chambers and connecting tunnels. While only a portion remains accessible by the public, the entire system extends for approximately 2.5 mi (4 km).
Numerous large chambers connected by twisting tunnels contain marvelous sights and experiences. The chambers vary in size, yet the largest measures approximately 984 ft (300 m) in length.
The deepest section of the complex also lies an equal distance beneath the surface. In addition, thousands of stalagmites and stalactites fill the various chambers.
Also, the surrounding rock primarily consists of ancient limestone. A small underground river also flows through some of the chambers and tunnels.
This complex originally formed as a series of dripstone caverns and lies in a limestone ridge running parallel to the Swartberg Mountains. The first recorded discovery of the complex in modern times occurred in 1780, yet archaeological evidence places human usage of the site as far back as nearly 300,000 years ago.
The first known attempt to map the system occurred in 1897. In addition, the first scientific mapping of the complex was carried out by the South African Speleological Association, in 1956. It also remains important to note that there may be more to the complex than we currently know, as portions of it still lie under water.
It also remains important to note that there may be more to the complex than we currently know, as portions of it still lie under water.