Oudtshoorn, although a small town, is the largest in the Klein (little) Karoo region of the Western Cape. This area is classified as semi-arid with a rich diversity of endemic succulent plants. As you would expect from a semi desert area, the summer’s days are scorching while winter brings crisp, cool temperatures. One of the many pros to staying in Oudtshoorn accommodation is the abundance of stars visible in the cloudless night skies as well as the beautiful scenery, interesting attractions and proximity to other tourist destinations.
Despite its size, Oudsthoorn has a number of unique tourist attractions on its doorstep. It is particular well-known for two of them. The Cango Caves are a network of underground caverns boasting weird and wonderful rock formations as well as glaring examples of stalactites and stalagmites. There are two tours available – the standard tour which simply involves walking between a number of the ‘shallower’ caves and the adventure tour which involves going deeper into the grottos requiring one to crawl and wiggle through much more confined spaces.
Oudtshoorn’s other claim to fame is the ostrich industry, the largest in the entire world. For the uninitiated, ostriches are the world’s largest bird, and consequently lay the largest eggs of any bird species. Many of the ostrich farms in the area provide tours as well as the opportunity to ride an ostrich – a truly bizarre experience. Eggs make beautiful candle holders and many are decorated and sold as eye-catching souvenirs. A trip to Oudtshoorn would not be complete without checking the ostriches and the caves.
Oudtshoorn lies very close to De Rust, a tiny town at the foot of the scenic Meiringspoort Pass, which takes you to the foodie town of Prince Albert. The pass is the main gateway between the Klein Karoo and the Groot (great) Karoo and a drive encompassing these two towns and the magnificent pass makes for a great day trip from Oudtshoorn. The cherry on top is that the Swartberg, over which Meiringpoort passes, is a Cape Floral World Heritage site - well worth a visit!
In addition Oudtshoorn marks the start of the Route 62 wine route, a scenic tourist route which acts as an alternative to the N2.
Oudtshoorn lies roughly 500km from Cape Town and 200km from the Garden Route coast making it an accessible spot to visit. Accommodation in Oudtshoorn comes in all shapes and sizes, so there is bound to be something for anyone and everyone.