Oudtshoorn, the heart of the Klein Karoo, is situated on the very edge of the Garden Route between the Outeniqua and Swartberg Mountain Passes - making for a spectacular setting for this culturally rich and historic town.
Most well-known for its Ostrich farming, Oudtshoorn is one of the tourist hot spots of the Western Cape with thousands of visitors making their way here to experience this unique industry. It serves as a base for many other tourist destinations such as the Cango Caves and the vast Klein Karoo wine route - Route 62 - that starts in Oudtshoorn and procudes some of South Africa’s best port style wines.
Oudtshoorn has unique architectural styles – much of which has to do with the ostrich booms of the 1880s and the early 1900s. With massive inflows of capital, the feather barons were able to build fantastic Ostrich Palaces in the Art Nouveau, Victorian, and Neo-Renaissance Revival styles – for which they employed architects like Karl Otto Hager, Georges Wallace (Snr. and Jnr.) and Charles Bullock (who was known for the turrets and lace with which he decorated his buildings).
Another interesting feature of buildings dotted throughout the town is the use of Sandstone as building material. This dates back to the 1860s, when the first Scottish stonemasons arrived to help with the construction of buildings like the St Jude’s Anglican Church (the oldest stone building in the town), the Oudtshoorn Synagogue, the CP Nel Museum and dozens of Feather Palaces both on the ostrich farms and in the town.
The Cango Caves, just 30km north of Oudtshoorn is considered by many as a natural wonder of the world is a cultural and natural landmark in South Africa. The 20 million year-old Cango Caves system consists of a series of hidden chambers cut deep into a thick limestone rock layer. Today visitors to the caves can experience its wonders from easy routes to more advanced routes that will leave them in awe of this incredible natural phenonom.
Locals to Oudtshoorn will tell you that while the summer months can be extremely hot, winters are mild and moderate. The mountain ranges also protect the town from the coastal winds that blow inland from the nearby coastal towns of Mossel Bay and George.
With tourism being one of the main contributing industries to the local economy, there are many first class hotels, lodges, inns and guesthouses in and around town. Meaning that property investors or entrepeneurs looking for tourism accommodation opportunities would be smart to invest here.
Residents can truly experience the joy of life in the country and breathe in the healthy, unpolluted air here. Enjoy some of the best local fine wines and dine on incredible cuisine available right on their doorsteps.
Rest assured that whether you make this your home for the long-haul or just as a stopover, you will be welcomed by the warm Klein Karoo hospitality.