The ostrich capital of the world.
The iconic towns of Oudtshoorn & De Rust, based in the semi-arid Klein Karoo, borders on the North of the picturesque Garden Route region half way between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Just 55 kilometers from the large coastal town of George, which has the closest air access, Oudtshoorn boasts an array of things to see and do for those of all ages. The town can also be accessed by the scenic and famed R62 – the world’s longest wine route!
Primarily known as the ostrich capital of the world, Oudtshoorn has quickly gained the reputation of being a cultural, heritage, adventure and sports hotspot. Encompassed by unique landscapes, the town is centred between the awe-inspiring Swartberg and Outeniqua Mountain ranges.
The history and development of Oudtshoorn
The history and development of Oudtshoorn is inextricably connected with the growth of the ostrich feather industry from as early as 1860. By the turn of the twentieth century the use of prime ostrich feathers in ladies clothing was high fashion, especially in England and Europe. Feathers were light and easily imported and fetched incredibly high prices. The resultant prosperity had a profound effect on Oudtshoorn and its immediate environment. Ostriches still form a vital part of the trade today; from tourism to agriculture. Come and meet the large flightless birds at the time-honoured ostrich show farms where they showcase all the wonders of the unique struthio.
A visit to Oudtshoorn is not complete without seeing the world famous Cango Caves, Africa’s largest heritage show cave system. Enjoy some of the local Karoo cuisine with a crisp chardonnay, admire the fauna and flora, venture on a game drive, partake in elephant feeding, engage with breath-taking big cats or take a plunge in the world’s first crocodile cage dive! The options are unlimited. When your adventurous days draw to a close, you’ll find a wide array of comfortable accommodation to choose from; from camp sites to caravan parks, backpackers to guest farms, self-catering and B&Bs, luxury hotels and lodges and more.
With an annual rainfall of less than 150mm per annum, Oudtshoorn is the ideal location for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and exploring the wonders of nature in one of the nearby nature reserves. Due to the weather Oudtshoorn is also a natural choice to host events, and host up to 25 regular events every year from mountain bike races, to national sports championships and the famous ‘Klein Karoo Nationale Kunstefees’, the National Arts Festival, held in March/April.
The Klein Karoo is an ecological wonder
The Klein Karoo is an ecological wonder where the succulent Karoo, Cape thicket, and fynbos biomes converge. The Swartberg Mountains form part of the Cape Floral Kingdom World Heritage Site and can be admired when taking the notorious Swartberg Circle Route along the R328 towards Prince Albert. Stop as many times as you like along the way and drink from the clear mountain streams before returning along the R407 via Klaarstroom. A short hike to the Meiringspoort waterfall will feed your soul as you admire the amazing rock formations in the ‘poort’. Browse the unique stores of De Rust and return to Oudtshoorn via the N12.