Welcome to Oudtshoorn
Oudtshoorn is a town in the Klein Karoo area of South Africa’s Western Cape. It’s known for its ostrich farms and rests along the Route 62 wine route.
The central C.P. Nel Museum traces the ostrich-feather boom era and houses a working synagogue. The nearby Cango Wildlife Ranch is a conservation park offering animal petting. To the north, the Cango Caves are a 20-million-year-old network of limestone chambers.
Oudtshoorn , the “ostrich capital of the world”, is a town in the Western Cape province of South Africa, located between the Swartberg mountains to the north and the Outeniqua Mountains to the south. Two ostrich-feather booms, during 1865–1870 and 1900–1914, truly established the settlement. With approximately 60,000 inhabitants, it is the largest town in the Little Karoo region. The town’s economy is primarily reliant on the ostrich farming and tourism industries. Oudtshoorn is home to the world’s largest ostrich population, with a number of specialised ostrich breeding farms, such as the Safari Show Farm and the Highgate Ostrich Show Farm.
The pioneer farmers in the area that would be known as Oudtshoorn arrived in the 1750s, and became well-established in the area by the end of the 18th century. In addition to rearing livestock, they cultivated wheat and barley, made wine and brandy, and grew tobacco as well as a variety of soft fruit. As market opportunities in neighbouring districts such as George and Mossel Bay developed, the economic benefit of mixed farming came to be understood and utilized.
Initially, the pioneer farmers in the area fell under the administrative and legal sphere of Swellendam, but in fact George was the closest that inhabitants had to government headquarters. By the 1820s, the increasing population along the Olifants River and in the valleys of its tributaries increased the need for more local administrative and especially judicial supervision; especially the 1809 Hottentot Proclamation increased the legal and administrative burdens on slave owners. For these reasons, with its founding in April 1811, the magisterial district of George subsumed Oudtshoorn.
In the 1810s, due to the obstacles south and west of the area, trade contacts with developing towns to the east and north of Oudtshoorn unfolded instead. By the 1830s, the settlers’ subsistence farming had transformed into a market economy, laying the foundation for further socio-economic development.[
The oldest signs of human settlement are Late Neolithic (4th millennium BC or earlier), but c. 2000–1650 BC Akrotiri developed into one of the Aegean’s major Bronze Age ports, with recovered objects that came not just from Crete, but also from Anatolia, Cyprus, Syria, and Egypt, as well as from the Dodecanese and the Greek mainland.
Sights to visit
CP Nel Museum
The CP Nel Museum is a museum in Oudtshoorn, South Africa, which houses exhibits depicting the role of the ostrich trade in the town’s history, as well as the cultural history and lifestyle of the people of the Little Karoo region, as it was during the Victorian era and early 20th century.
Cango Wildlife Ranch
The Cango Wildlife Ranch is a wildlife ranch 3 kilometres north of the town of Oudtshoorn in South Africa. It was established in 1977 as a crocodile show farm.
Cango Ostrich Farm
Rural farm visit with ostrich feeding & petting, incubator tours & a chance to see chicks in season.