Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Once Upon A Time At The Cango Caves

Originating From The Chocolat Negro Archive
Once Upon A Time In South Africa At The Cango Caves - The Entrance To The Cango Caves  in the 1950's

Today we are posting two lovely old prints of the famous Cango Caves in South Africa, dating back to the 1950's, a time when art lovers would sit in front of their easels painting the scenery outside the caves, the ladies wearing elegant dresses and summer hats. 

Prof. A.J.H. Goodwin  a archeologist of the University of Cape Town carried out a test excavation in the Cango Caves in 1930. Stone artefacts and other cultural material show people had been living in the entrance to the caves over a long period during the Middle and Later Stone Ages.
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.

Colored Light floods the walls of the famous caves
The Cango Caves In the 1950s - The Throne Room In the Cango Caves approximately 60 years ago
There goes the legend that Mr. Johnny van Wassenaer, the cave’s first official guide had 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 from the entrance, and 275m under ground. His route apparently followed an underground river. So far, no caves have been found to support this story.

The Cango Caves 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 four kilometers, only about a quarter of this is open to visitors, who may proceed into the cave only in groups supervised by a guide. 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 spectacular halls and grand limestone formations (on both tours) as well as some rather small passages on the Adventure Tour. The smallest passage that tourists will have to pass through on the Adventure Tour is just under 30cm high at the exit.
The caves are considered to be part of the Garden Route.

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