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About Oudtshoorn

Oudtshoorn, (pronounced "oats-horn") is the gateway to the Klein and Central Karoo is nestled between the Swartberg and Outeniqua Mountains, located approximately 430km from Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

Known, specifically as the ostrich capital of the world, and home to the spectacular Cango Caves, Africa's largest show cave system; an ecological hotspot where three distinct plant biomes (succulent karoo, cape thicket and fynbos) converge; and the Swartberg mountain range, which is part of the Cape Floral World Heritage Site.

The town has outdoor weather year-round. You will notice breathtaking scenery with snow-capped mountains in winter (around 0 - 26 degrees C) and bouquets of wild flowers in summer (around 5 - 37 degrees C).

Getting there
- By Air: George Airport is 55km away (closest airport)

- By Road: 55km from George on the N12. 420km from Port Elizabeth on the N2 to George and then on the N12 from George. 450km from Cape Town on the N1 to Worcester and then on the Route 62 scenic route from Worcester. 430km form Cape Town on the N2 to Mossel Bay and then on the R328 from Mossel Bay.

- By Bus: Buses travel through Oudtshoorn at regular intervals, to and from all major cities in South Africa

Foreign Currency
Foreign currency may be exchanged at all major banks in town. Commission is charged with each transaction. Bank operating hours are generally 09h00 to 15h30 (Mon- Fri) and 09h00 to 11h00 (Sat). There is also a foreign exchange desk at the Cango Caves.

Things to do

1. 4x4:
Minwater Eco Adventures - 082 481 3625
Die Hel - 044 203 6300
Old Mill 4x4 River Tour Adventure

2. Adventure:
Buffelsdrift game lodge - 044 272 0000
Cango Caves - 044 272 7410
Cango Wildlife Ranch - 044 272 5593
Doornkraal Witkop Trek Trips & Trails - 082 895 5009
Meerkat Adventures - 084 772 9678
Skydive Oudshoorn - 072 590 8336
Solo Outdoor Experiences - 044 272 3558
Wilgewandel Holiday Farm - 044 272 0878

3. Beauty spas:
Boulders Lodge & Spa - 044 203 6300
Buffelsdrift Game Lodge

4. Bird watching:
Gamkaberg Nature Reserve - 044 203 6300
Swartberg Nature Reserve - 044 203 6300

5. Bush & Game Safaris:
Buffelsdrift game lodge - 044 272 0000
Chandelier Game & Ostrich Farm

6. Cultural Experiences & Historical Routes:
Historical route in town - 044 272 7306
Ma Betty's Xhosa Experience - 083 597 5289
Magic Moments - 044 272 2710

7. Guided Tours:
Klein Karoo Connexion - 082 461 8253
Mac-Koto Tours & Shuttle Services - 083 396 9526
Spore in die Suid Kaap - 044 272 6893
Swartberg Experience Tours - 082 852 4778
Swartberg Mountain Tours (half & full day tours) - 079 105 4000

8. Landmarks/Heritage sites:
Cango Caves - 044 272 7410
Swartberg Pass - 044 203 6300

9. Wine Farms:
Grundheim - 044 272 6927 (Grundheim produces unique products – muscadel, port, home made liqueurs and potstill brandy)
Karusa Vineyards - 044 272 8717

Quick Facts

Province: Western Cape
Country: South Africa

Why go?

- Home to the unbelievable Cango Caves & Swartberg Pass
- 4x4 with either Midwater Eco Adventures, Die Hel or Old Mill 4x4 River Tour Adventure
- four art galleries to choose from
- Beauty Spas
- Bird Watching
- Bush & Game safaris
- Arts & Crafts shopping
- Cultural experiences and Historical routes
- Elephant experiences
- Oudshoorn Golf course
- Guided Tours
- Hiking trails
- Museums
- Nature Reserves
- Ostrich farms
- Wine farms
- Waterfalls

History icon


The rich history of Oudtshoorn is told through the exhibits in the various museums:

The CP Nel Museum Complex is one of the best country museums in South Africa and the only museum with a synagogue inside which is still in use. The museum is housed in two historical buildings with the main museum, named after a collector of antiques, in the former Oudtshoorn Boy's High School. The sandstone building with the prominent clock tower was designed by Charles Bullock and built in 1912, thereafter declared a national monument in 1981. The theme of the museum is ostriches through the centuries and showcases the fascinating story of the ostrich feather industry.

Le Roux Townhouse, also designed by Charles Bulock, was built in 1909, and is a good example of a glamorous feather boom residence, featuring various architectural styles, period furniture and unique art nouveau stained glass panels.

Arbeidsgenot, a charming little museum that was the home of CK Langenhoven, the composer of South Africa's first national anthem, a part of which is still contained in the new anthem.

During the boom of the Ostrich Industry from 1860 - 1914, much money was available and many churches, public schools and commercial buildings were built. The farming community, that had suddenly become extremely rich, vied with one another to display their wealth and build magnificent "Ostrich Feather Palaces" decorated and embellished with stained glass windows, turrets and handsome cast-iron work (locally known as 'broekielace" - cast-iron decorations that reminds one of of the lace on ladies' underwear.)
Several of these "Ostrich Feather Palaces" are still to be viewed in Oudtshoorn and its immediate environment. The distinctive sandstone used for these buildings was readily available because it was locally quarried. The skill of the Scottish stonemasons, originally imported for the building of the Dutch Reformed Church ("Moerderkerk - Mother Church") is evident in these fine buildings.

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