Oudtshoorn, the ostrich-feather capital of the world, is situated in the Klein Karoo, about 55km from the town of George and is sheltered by the Swartberg and the Outeniqua Mountains
The town, known as the ‘capital’ of the Klein Karoo, can trace its beginnings to 1847. However it was only in 1863 that it was officially named after Baron Pieter van Oudtshoorn, who tragically died before taking up the post as governor. Today, the town is known as the feather capital of the world, and although the industry has taken a dip from its heyday, the legacy still lives on in this charming town.
At the CP Nel Museum, a beautiful green-domed sandstone building, the impact of the feather boom, as well as the Jewish community’s contribution to this industry, is portrayed in a fascinating exhibition. Ornate relics of the extravagance of the feather barons during the boom can be seen at palaces such as Pinehurst and Welgeluk. 30km north of the town is one of the world’s great natural wonders, the Cango Caves. Nature has, in 100-million years, designed the most stunning displays of stalactites and stalagmites, and the breathtaking limestone formations in a wide variety of natural colours create a fascinating and beautiful underground fantasyland.
At the beginning of April of each year, more than 100,000 arts, theatre, poetry and music lovers gather at the Klein Karoo National Arts festival. Other family entertainment includes ostrich show farms the drive up to Prince Albert over the Swartland Pass. An exciting and unforgettable way to experience the famous ostriches is to pluck up the courage and ride one, grab the wings and hold on for dear life!
Did you know? An ostrich egg holds the nutritional equivalent of 24 fowl eggs!