Oudtshoorn, 9 September 2020. – After having had to close its doors as a result of the National Lockdown for a period of approximately six months, the Cango Caves is proud to announce that it will open its doors to the public on Friday, 11 September 2020.
The Cango Caves, which successfully draws about 250 000 tourists a year, is regarded as a provincial, national as well as an international tourism treasure. More than half of all visitors per year are from outside the borders of South Africa, with 60% of all visitors coming from Europe and Britain. South East Asian tourists are also as key visitors.
In this regard the Cango Caves is widely acknowledged for its role as a key contributor to the economy of the Garden Route and Klein Karoo, and in particular Oudtshoorn.
“The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and its resultant negative impact on the economy of the region, meant that the Cango Caves management along with key partners of the Oudtshoorn Municipality had to think very carefully about its future business and plan for accordingly,” says Alison Moos, Acting Manager of the Cango Caves.
“As far we know, this is the first time since opening its doors in the late 1900s that the Cango Caves had to close its doors for such a long period of time – nearly six months since National Lockdown was introduced in March this year,” Moos adds.
“While we are looking forward to opening our doors to welcome tourists again, we are well aware of the importance to protect the safety of both the Cango Caves employees as well as our visitors. We are also aware of the negative impact of Covid-19 on the economy, locally, national as well as internationally. This means that at least for the next 18 months we are unlikely to experience as strong a flow of visitors as we saw prior to the onset of the pandemic.”
“We also know that should we register a Covid-19 case at the Cango Caves, we would most likely have to close our doors again, albeit for a much shorter period of time.”
With regards to tours, Moos announced that, as part of the measures introduced to manage the situation, “the Cango Caves will for the foreseeable future only offer the Heritage Tour, which is an easy walk through the first six largest chambers. The size of the groups on this specific tour will also be limited, given requirements for social distancing”.
“The Heritage Tour originally catered for a maximum of 100 people. This has been changed, in line with safety protocol, to 20 people on the tour and the tour is conducted every 15 minutes.”
The Adventure Tour, which is considered a more challenging tour with narrow passages and tunnels that requires a degree of fitness, has been suspended till further notice.
Sanitising stations are available throughout the complex before visitors embark on their tour and visitors are encouraged to regularly sanitise their hands. Face masks are obligatory for all staff and visitors. Electronic temperature screening and sanitising will take place at the entrance to the complex.
The Cango Caves is a public entity and as such adheres to the strict regulation as gazetted by the Department of Labour as well as the Department of Health.
The first tour at Cango Caves was conducted in 1891.