South African Hotels

Oudtshoorn Tourism Information

Quick Facts: Oudtshoorn

  • Ostrich Farms: Highgate, Safari Show, Cango Ostrich
  • Dutch Reformed Church
  • CP Nel Museum
  • Le Roux Townhouse
  • Cango Caves
  • Cango Wildlife Ranch and Cheetahland
  • Ballooning
  • Mountain biking
  • Mountain Passes: Swartberg Pass, Meiringspoort, Schoemanspoort

Distance to Airport: 64 km

Distance to City: 62 km

Introducing Oudtshoorn

The Bushmen originally inhabited this area of South Africa, and many rock paintings can be found in caves around this area. It was named after Baron Pieter van Rheede van Oudtshoorn. The first farmers settled here in 1789. The village grew in 1839 and in 1858 the first one-room school was opened, this was followed by the formation of a municipality and the founding of the Agricultural Society in 1859. Oudtshoorn, South Africa, is the largest town in the Little Karoo. The grand Victorian and Edwardian sandstone mansions were built on the riches reaped from the ostrich-feather boom in the 1880’s.

The town of Oudtshoorn in South Africa's Western Province is known for its ostrich industry. When farmers realised the feathers were becoming hugely popular as fashion accessories in Europe, they decided to go into ostrich farming and planted lucerne which was feed for the ostriches instead of crops. Between 1875 and 1880 feathers reached top prices. This was the first ostrich boom.  In 1885 there was a slump in the ostrich industry due to overproduction. After a slow recovery, the second ostrich boom started after the Second Anglo-Boer War of 1899 – 1902, and it peaked in 1913 but collapsed in 1914.  Today, Oudtshoorn is still the world’s largest ostrich population, mainly of meat and leather.