Discover Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape

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Discover Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape
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Discover Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape
Get In Touch

“These mountains are God’s footstool and the valley, his dwelling place.”

Powerful words, but certainly befitting of the majestic Swartberg Mountains and the lush, fertile lands that they stand watch over. Lands that the Khoi have inhabited for hundreds of years. If you thought Oudsthoorn in the Klein Karoo was all about the ostriches and the Cango Caves, then think again, because the town also boasts a rich, culturally-diverse, history, a natural warmth of character and is surrounded on all sides by the near-untouched beauty of the Klein Karoo.

Even getting there is an epic journey, with a road trip down the storied Route 62 – recently named the world’s best road trip destination by CNN Travel – a feast for the eyes, the soul and, of course, the belly. No trip down this stretch of road can be considered complete without a visit to establishments like Ronnie’s Sex Shop (not what you think) and Diesel and Crème, the latter making possibly the most decadent milkshakes on the planet.

But Oudtshoorn is where you are heading, and once there, you will find a town that has managed to mix its diverse heritage and unique surroundings into a charming, quirky, and ultimately, vibrant experience. From the known – ostriches and the caves – to the new – moonlight hikes and town walks – let us help you discover Oudsthoorn.


The Klein Karoo is the third richest succulent region on the planet, with around 3800 species of indigenous plants found in the area, and the surroundings are very much woven into the fabric of life here. The local Khoi people have been using the plants as a food source, for their medicinal properties and more for as long as anybody can remember.

The Cango Caves

The Cango Caves are an iconic site and are both a cultural and natural landmark in South Africa. Dated to be around 20-millions years old, the caves are situated in the Swartberg Mountains, 30km outside of town, and are roughly one kilometre in length. Visitors can choose from the Heritage Tour, which lasts for one hour, and runs through the larger chambers, or the Adventure Tour, which runs for 90 minutes and requires a bit more courage when it comes to tight spaces! Both tours are led by experienced and knowledgeable guides.


The Swartberg Pass

Built by Thomas Bain in the 1800s, the Swartberg Pass is an incredible sight, snaking up and over the mountains. With its highest point at 1585m above sea level, you will be blown away by the jaw-dropping views of the Klein, and Great Karoo, below. A world heritage site, there are a number of activities available to guests. Sundowner or Sunrise trips over the pass allow visitors to explore the area, taking in the geology and huge variety of flora and fauna. The Swartberg Mountain Circle Route runs all the way through to Prince Albert – although currently this is not possible because of flood damage – and is a must for any traveller, with non-stop photo-ops along the way. To Hell and Back takes you into ‘Die Hel’ an isolated valley in the mountains. Only accessible by a 4x4 road, Die Hel is very isolated and cut off over the rainy season.


Velskoen Shuffle Heritage Walks

There are few people who know Oudtshoorn and its culture as well as local tour guide Jeremy van Wyk. His new tour – the Velskoen Shuffle – takes visitors on a journey through the town centre, explaining how it was shaped by its history. Incorporating everything from the ostrich feather trade to the town’s large Jewish community, the Velskoen Shuffle looks beneath the skin of this charming Klein Karoo town and brings the past to life.

For more information: 073 240 7898

Ostrich Farms

The ostrich feather industry is indelibly linked to Oudtshoorn with the town’s growth connected to the industry as early as 1860. And while the birds’ feathers are no longer considered as fashionable in high society as they once were, there are still a number of show farms operating in the area that showcase not only the industry, but the birds themselves. Highgate Ostrich Farm, Safari Ostrich Farm and Cango Ostrich Farm are three farms that offer various tours highlighting the town’s link to these magnificent birds.



Hikes and star-gazing

The Swartberg Mountains offer a number of trails for hikers of all experience levels with overnight hiking accommodation available for multi-day hikes. Just be sure to contact a local guide before attempting the trails on your own, to ensure you tackle a route in line with your own experience and needs. Stargazing in the Klein Karoo, meanwhile, is something special and guests can experience a spell-binding tour through the Southern Hemisphere's celestial "High Five" with the help of experienced guides.


Cango Caves Zipline

With only two lines at the moment, the Cango Caves zipline does not have as many platforms as other operators around the province, but the second line is 500m long, making it one of the longest in the province. Another nice touch is both platforms have dual lines, meaning you can shoot down with a friend. Make sure you stick around for a cup of coffee at the bottom – Cango Caves Estate serves arguably the best cup in Oudsthoorn.


African Bush Safari

Buffelsdrift Game Lodge runs two Bush Safaris per day, one in the morning and another in the evening, allowing guests to experience the magic of the Klein Karoo in an open game viewing vehicle. Lasting around two hours, you can expect to see a wide range of animals including hippo, rhino, elephant, giraffe and zebra, as well as a huge amount of indigenous plant species. The safari includes a drinks break at one of the reserves scenic lookout spots.


Meerkat Safari

Offered daily at Buffesldrift, is the unique opportunity to view the local meerkat mob rising for the day. A unique experience, guests wait as the animals emerge from their burrows to soak in the sun and prepare to go about their daily activities. Safaris are run by experienced knowledgeable guides and great care it taken to ensure there is no direct interaction with the animals.


Gamkaberg Nature Reserve

Established in 1974 to conserve a small herd of Cape mountain zebra, the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve is open daily to visitors. Explore the labyrinth, enjoy a short hike along one of the trails, or settle in for a braai or picnic. There are a number of self-catering accommodation options as well as a campsite on the reserve.


These are just some of the options available to explore in, and around, Oudsthoorn. For more information: