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Getting to Oudtshoorn is part of the fun for no matter which way you arrive, the road offers something spectacular: west from Cape Town along the R62 wine route – the world’s longest, south from the Garden Route over passes extending high above a carpet of pristine forests, east and along a winding road that travels over the same river 30 times through a deep 13km gorge or from the north over the formidable Swartberg Pass that climbs 1000m in just 12km.
Oudtshoorn is nicknamed the ostrich capital of the world, boasting the world’s largest ostrich population and once a booming town enriched by a worldwide demand for the bird’s feathers. The boom has long gone but the ostriches and grand mansions of the ostrich barons remain.
Oudtshoorn is the chief centre of the Little Karoo, a dry area north of the Garden Route in South Africa. Aside from ostrich farming, Oudtshoorn is a major lucerne and honey producer.
Visitors arrive in their busloads to view the Cango Caves, the ostrich show farms and the town’s many other attractions. And spending a few days in the dry, clean air will clear those lungs of city smog in no time!
Top 8 reasons to visit Oudtshoorn
1. A visit to the 20 million year old Cango Caves is a must. The caves extend for over 5km and were first used as a refuge by San people. Tours have been conducted since the 1890s. Take the standard tour to marvel at the huge chambers and a speleothem wonderland. An adventure tour is offered too and is considered a true caving experience.
2. Learn more about the fascinating ostrich on a tour of one of the town’s ostrich show farms. Occasionally ostrich races take place, the brave jockeys being members of staff.
3. Collect a map from the Info Centre and tour the feather... Show more
For those who are a little adventurous and enjoy the company of other travellers, you can decide to stay at a Backpackers. Often having to share a room with others as well as costs, it is incredibly inexpensive. Often the best choice for those who may be just passing through or will be occupied for the majority of their day. It comes with the most basic amenities and is often formed as part of a bar or similar establishment. Not recommended for those who want privacy, this is best suited for those who wouldn’t mind meeting various other interesting travellers.