In the late 1860s, no self-respecting society lady in the Western world would be seen dead without an ostrich plume adorning her headgear. The fashion boom in ostrich feathers lasted until the slump of 1914 and during this time, the ‘feather barons’ of Oudtshoorn made their fortunes.
You can still see their gracious homes today, along with other architectural pointers to Oudtshoorn’s former wealth such as the CP Nel Museum. The town remains the ostrich capital of the world and is now the prosperous tourist centre of the Little Karoo. Ostrich leather is much sought after, and expensive; feathers, eggs and biltong are available everywhere and the meat is always on the menu (a healthy option with no cholesterol).
Oudtshoorn, though, has much more to offer than ostriches and makes a great base for exploring the different environments of the Little Karoo, the Garden Route (it’s 55km to George along the N12) and the Great Karoo.
Oudtshoorn destination guides
Garden Route Adventure
Travel to South Africa and Lesotho and explore the exquisite Garden Route on a tour from Durban to Cape Town via the Stellenbosch Wine Region. Combining the classic Garden Route with the enchanting beauty of the Wild Coast, this adventure offers the chance to experience the incredible variety of cultures, stunning landscapes and unique flora and fauna of South Africa.
South Africa Discoverer
Explore South Africa's fascinating cultural diversity on this exciting journey through the 'Rainbow Nation'. Chase stunning views through Tsitsikamma National Park and track big game across Addo Elephant National Park. Led by a knowledgeable and dynamic CEO, journey across the southern coast in search of phenomenal wildlife and dramatic scenery.