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Visits to Cango Caves to be Reduced

The number of tours to the world famous Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn will be reduced for the next few months.

Scientists say they want to study the environmental and meteorological impact of the large number of visitors to the historical site.

The existence of Cango caves dates back to over 20 million years ago. History shows that the Khoisan used the caves for habitation 80 thousand years ago.

In modern times, a local farmer known as Jacobus van Zyl, discovered them in 1780.

Since then, they have become a popular international tourist attraction, known for their incredible rock formations.

Two hundred and thirty thousand people flock to see the caves and artefacts dating back to the Stone Age each year.

Cango Caves manager, Hein Gerstner says they're concerned about the impact of visitors on the caves.

“Geologically and environmentally we are trying to monitor the caves, especially the visitors impact and during this constant study because you can never just let it go or leave it because you always have to distinguish between the visitors impact and the natural carbon dioxide that is being given off by the system. We are trying to strike some sort of a balance between preservation and presentation of the caves.”

Gerstner has stressed that the caves are not closing down, but these measures are taken to preserve them for future generations.

“It's basically to get an even spread of visitors inside the cave and to monitor that, because whenever people enter the system lags build up, temperature lags as well as carbon dioxide lags and if you concentrate too many people for a long time in a certain section these lags are created. So the idea is to create an even spread of people and monitor it more closely. If you lower the frequency of the caves or the visitation of the adventure tours it's easier to monitor.”

Johannesburg tourist, Morton Darley and his family share the same sentiments about the preservation efforts for future generations.

“History is very important. I think the preservation of the caves needs to be upheld and be it from the local government or the central government it’s something we can showcase to South Africans, particularly tourists that they can see the context of the Karoo as well as Oudtshoorn. So preservation all the way.”

Management of the Cango caves has appealed to visitors to utilise the online booking system before visiting the site.

The reduction in tours will take place over the winter months, ending in August.

Source: oudtmun.gov.za






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