Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thursday 28th April 2016....Cango Caves!!!!!

Today was going to be a sort of mystery tour over some really high mountain passes and at the end see what you think....
I was on the road by 8.30am and after a couple of km onto a very good graded gravel road passing through many olive farms

osterich farms

I love this shot of ostrich herding!!!

and incredible scenery

to arrive at my first stop

This really is in the middle of no where...

I hiked into the falls and I was the only one there and it was beautiful and someone had done a lot of work and spent money on the stairs and bridges down to the falls..

because of the high walls of the canyon it was hard to get a good photo showing the height and the beauty but what impressed me was something different about these falls

.....In Zambia the power of the falls was astounding but these falls well at least to me the water seemed to jst gently flow down the steep canyon wall almost like in slow motion and then even gentlier was the smaller fall to the left of the main one...a really special start to the day....

Back onto the road and about 30 minutes later arrived here...

Common myth has it that the Caves were first explored by a local farmer named Jacobus van Zyl (after who the first chamber, van Zyl's Hall, was named) � although research fails to reveal anybody by that name in the Cango area in the 1770's. And besides � we now know that the Caves have been known to man since the Early Stone Age.
Still, even if there never was a Jacobus van Zyl, the Cango Caves have been at the forefront of tourism in South Africa since the end of the 18th century: the first to be protected by environmental legislation and the first to employ a full-time tourist guide, they remain South Africa's oldest tourist attraction.

In the 19th centuryentrance to the Caves cost 5 rix dollars � the modern equivalent of about R500.00 � but that even didn�t deter them and many carted away parts of the delicate stalactites and stalagmites for souvenirs or engraved their names onto the walls. In response, the governor of the Cape Colony, Lord Charles Somerset, published the first Caves Regulation in 1820. The 1st law designed to protect an environmental resource in South Africa; it banned the collection of souvenirs, proved for fines for anyone caught damaging Caves formations and prescribed an entrance fee which had to be paid to the District Officer � who was made responsible for enforcing the rules.
Many of the most significant discoveries in the Caves were made by its first full-time guide,Johnnie van Wassenaar. � who served for 43 years: from 1891 until his retirement in 1934. He opened many side chambers and introduced thousands of people to Cango 1, which remains the only part of the Caves which the public may visit. Importantly, though, it is clear that the Caves were known to man long before Europeans first landed at the Cape: recent finds � of some tool left behind in ancient hearths in the Cave mouth � prove that humans have lived and sheltered here for at least 80 000 years.
The Cango Caves reveal their secrets painfully slowly. Where once we thought that they�d been inhabited for a thousand centuries, recent archaeological finds have now proved that they�ve sheltered us for more than 80 000 years.
Where once we thought that they were only about one kilometre in length, we now know that they extend for well over 5 kilometres � and that they could be even bigger still.
But the Caves� history and their size are just two of their many mysteries. The skeletons of three genets (small cats) have been found in Cango 2: is there another secret entrance to the Caves? Or were these unfortunates drowned and left behind by receding floodwaters? And how did the skeletons of bats � which have also been found in Cango 2 � become enclosed in calcite many hundreds of even thousands of years ago?
There is an ancient engraving in the Caves: it�s the only piece of cave art in South Africa in a completely dark area. How did the artist prove himself with a light source to work? The engraving shows and elephant superimposed on an eland� and yet, amazingly, you see only the elephant when you view the work from one side � and only the eland when you view it from the other.
Why have so many Caves guides committed suicide? And is there a ghost in the Sand bypass (a tunnel which branches off from the Drum Chamber)? One of the guides drank poison in the bypass � and nobody has ever been able to solve the puzzle of why the lights in the Sand Bypass fuse so often�
And then there�s the mystery of Johnnie van Wassenaar�s 16-mile tunnel. This level-headed man once spent 29 hours underground � and, according to him, spent much of that time walking upright. Was the entrance to Johnnie�s lost chamber bricked up at some stage � perhaps during the construction of the stairway into the Van Zyl�s Hall?

It was superbly organized and only 85 Rand about 7 Canadian dollars and I joined 30 other people for a very informative and skilled guided tour.....enjoy the photos and tried to capture the enormity of the caves...

A very well spent and cheap hour I was really impressed with the size of the caverns and the beauty of the formations and again thumbs up to our tour guide she was great and funny!!!!!!

Next was to attempt to drive over this pass I had been told it may be closed but was happy to find it was open and all gravel but what an amazing drive..come join me and please fasten your seat belt!!!!

Just incredible workmanship and  the views!!!

Yes we have to go all the way down there!!!

On the way home I drove by this guy and I turned around and stopped gave him some water and some grapes and asked if I could take a photo and he smiled and said sure...

I was back home by 4 pm and i think getting the most for your money and 8 hours this was a steal of a beautiful day.
The sun was still shining so for me it was tea on the back stoop and here is my view and this special tree...
 This tree has been grafted and it bears three fruits...


and these below not yet in season how cool is that to go to the tree and pick 3 fruits all in one place!!!

Citrus (Orange, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Naartjie genus)
Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid II > Order: Sapindales > Family: Rutaceae
Flower of Citrus limon (Lemon)
Flower of Citrus limon (Lemon)

Cross-section and longitudinal section through Citrus sinensis fruit (Orange).
Native from northern India to China and south through Malaysia, the East Indies and the Philippines. About seven species and more than seven hybrids are cultivated in southern Africa including familiar fruit such as oranges, naartjies, grapefruit and lemons.
The genus Citrus is native to southeast Asia, occurring from northern India to China and south through Malaysia, the East Indies and the Philippines. They are all small evergreen trees and shrubs, usually with spines on trunks and branches. The ecology of wild species is now hard to establish because of drastic habitat modifications in the region as well as extensive hybridisation between wild and domesticated plants. The history of domestication has also been hard to establish because archaeological evidence is lacking and it has been difficult to link names and descriptions in ancient accounts with the actual species we know today. Records of domestication go back to about 500 BC. 
Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, flavonoids, acids and volatile oils. They contain coumarins such as bergapten which make the skin sensitive to sunlight. Many citrus species and varieties are not cultivated for producing fresh edible fruit but are sour and used for other purposes: oil is extracted from freshly open flowers (e.g. neroli oil from Bergamot) and used in perfumes. Leaves are used for flavouring foods and for medicinal infusions. Essential oils are extracted from leaves and unripe or ripe fruit and used in flavourings and for scenting toiletry products. The skin of fruit is used for making marmalade.

To finally end my day a saw my first hummingbird come to the feeder!!!

So there you have it just another boring day in South Africa!!!!

I managed last night with out TV so i should be OK tonight having said that it is already 8.45pm and I have yet to explore that bath tub again!!!!!

Tomorrow I move on still in the mountains but heading towards Cape Town!!
Yashi Kochi!! 


Kevin Read said...

Nice...we enjoyed that area when we were there!

mexicokid said...

It is so wonderful around here for sure cheers les

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