Ostrich Feather Capital of the World
The quaint town of Oudtshoorn lies between the Swartberg and Outeniqua Mountains in the very scenic Klein Karoo (Little Karoo) on the edge of the Garden Route. It is the largest town in the Klein Karoo and home to the largest bird in the world - it is the only town where Ostrich feathers are sold at Public Auctions. The area offers exceptional natural beauty with varied opportunities for outdoor activities and we highly recommend exploring the Caves, riding an Ostrich, hiking, horse riding and mountain biking.
Shielded by the mountains from the coastal belt, Oudtshoorn has many windless days plus the town has more sunny days per year than anywhere else in the country, making it a perfect stopover when travelling between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. The coastal town of George is only 56 km’s away so a day on the beach is also a favourite with visitors to the area.
The Klein Karoo is one of South Africa’s eight wine regions. The area may be small in production, but the wines are classed as some of the best in the South African context. This means visitors have a few wine farms to visit for a day of wine tasting and lunches along the Klein Karoo Wine Route.
There is plenty of first class accommodation with hotels, lodges, Guest Houses and B+B’s, all with a relaxed, friendly and hospitable atmosphere.
Places to Visit
Things to do and see
- Cango Caves
- CP Nel Museum
- C. J. Langenhoven Museum
- Church Street Suspension Bridge
- Cango Ostrich Show Farm
- Robinson Pass
- To Overhang and Back Hiking Trail
- Gamkaberg Nature Reserve
- Attakwaskloof 4x4 Trail
- Bozzola Equestria
- Cango Wildlife Ranch
- Crocodile Cage Diving
- Hops Valley Farm Stall
- Karusa Vineyards
- Ma Betty’s Xhosa Cultural Village
- Oudtshoorn Golf Course
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 16˚C and 32˚C with high rainfall in March and October/November.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 5˚C and 20˚C with the lowest rainfall in June and July.
Commercial Airlines offer flights into George Airport, 56 km away from Oudtshoorn. Car hire facilities are located at the Airports.
February/March – Cango Caves Fun Run: One of South Africa’s oldest events, the full marathon starts at the Cango Caves and ends in Oudtshoorn and the half marathon starts and ends in the town.
August – Klein Karoo Klassique: Winter festival with world class classical music, delectable food, blue ribbon wine and local art.
October – Van Loveren’s JAVA MTB Challenge: Fun Mountain Bike Routes competition with distances of 8 km, 20 km, 45 km, and 85 km
October – Robertson Wine on the River: A Spring Festival of fine wine, delicious treats and great music.
In 1838 a small church was inaugurated to serve the farmers who had settled along the Olifants and Grobbelaars rivers and nine years later the town of Oudtshoorn was founded. The town is named after Baron Pieter van Rheede from Outshoorn, who died in 1773 on his way to the Cape to take up the office of Governor.
The first group of British immigrants settled in the town in 1858, but it was the advent of the two ostrich feather booms (1865 – 1870 and 1900 0 1914) that truly established the town. For a period of 40 years it was considered the most important settlement east of Cape Town. At the peak of its fortunes, ostrich feathers were selling for more than their weight in gold. Today it is the production of specialized agriculture which contributes most to the regions wealth. Crops such as lucerne, tobacco, grapes and grains grow here in abundance.
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