No visit to the Klein Karoo and Oudtshoorn is complete without a visit to the Cango Caves.
The caves probably began forming around 20 million years ago when earth movements brought the buried limestone to within reach of surface water, which seeped through fissures in the rock and slowly began to dissolve the limestone.
The caves first came to the attention of modern man in 1780 when a slave by the name of "Klaas" happened upon the entrance while searching for stray cattle belonging to his master, one Jacobus van Zyl. There is however evidence of bushmen having inhabited the outer chambers of the caves as long ago as 13 000 years.
Although not yet fully explored, a significant portion of the caves are open to visitors, with professional guides, lights and steps over the more difficult sections, there is also a restaurant and gift shop for the convenience of visitors.
Experience a fascinating tour of fact and fable as you venture into the crocodile enclosures, or visit the snake park which accommodates an interesting collection of reptiles such as the giant albino python and the prehensile tailed snake.
Catch a birds eye view of the magnificent family of big cats. These include the endangered cheetah, rare white Bengal tigers, lions, jaguars and pumas.
The last pass built by famous road builder Thomas Bain, and probably the most spectacular, the Swartberg Pass was built between 1881 and 1887, and was to be the last of 28 passes in total built by Bain.
From Oudtshoorn, the pass climbs to an altitude of 1585m, before plunging through an spectacular series of hairpin bends, squeezing through narrow kloofs, mountains towering above on either side, to begin the descent into the Great Karoo, and the town of Prince Albert.
The pass is 27 km of gravel road, though well maintained and is suitable for all types of vehicles, provided they have good brakes, and the driver a head for heights. Snow covered in winter, the pass is also the basis of some excellent hiking trails.
Take R328 to Mosselbay, take Highgate turnoff and proceed 6kms. Thylitshia Villa will be on the left side of the road.