A warm welcome awaits visitors to Oudtshoorn, a serene town situated in the Klein Karoo valley and backed by the Outeniqua and Swartberg mountains. A hidden gem amid dramatic scenery, the town hosts well-known South African attractions, including ostrich show farms, art festivals and ancient limestone caves.
Oudtshoorn is the ostrich capital of the world. A visit to the town is never complete without a tour of a working ostrich farm. Discover the aspects of ostrich farming and the role the birds play in the local lifestyle. Feed an ostrich by hand, hold an egg and watch an ostrich race with local jockeys. If you are feeling brave then you can sit on and ride one yourself. Sample ostrich steaks, burgers and sausages at the farm and at the town’s restaurants.
Learn about the history of Oudtshoorn and the Klein Karoo at the C.P. Nel Museum. Highlights include a collection of antique vehicles and the reconstruction of a 20th-century chemist shop. Visit the Le Roux Townhouse to see a prime example of an “ostrich feather palace,” a grand residence typically built during the ostrich farming booms.
Oudtshoorn is known as a center for art and creativity. The ArtKaroo Gallery showcases the work of established and emerging artists while shops sell crafts and jewelry by local artisans. Visit in March when the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival celebrates Afrikaans art and culture through exhibitions, concerts and dance performances.
Go to the Cango Caves, a 20-million-year-old system of concealed chambers cut into a limestone ridge. Cage-dive with crocodiles, pet a cheetah and feed exotic birds at the Cango Wildlife Ranch. Go mountain biking or hiking in the Swartberg Mountains. Take a jeep tour along Die Hel, a mountain pass that clings to the side of a valley.
Located halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, Oudtshoorn is served by several bus companies. It’s a four to five-hour drive from either destination. Rent a car to enjoy the region’s scenic drives, including Robinson Pass to Mossel Bay and the Route 62 to Cape Town.
Wildlife, Nature and Tours
Set off in search for most of the Big Five on a ranger-led 4x4 game drive in the malaria-free Garden Route and another 4x4 game drive in the Klein Karoo. Search for most of the big giraffe, white rhino, kudu, lion, elephant, zebra and wildebeest, to name a few.