No Garden Route trip is complete without a stop in Oudtshoorn. The ostrich capital of the world may not immediately spring to mind when composing a list of must-see destinations, but a quick visit and it will certainly be imprinted in your memory forever. Combine this quirky claim to fame with the town’s year-round sunshine, mountain-flanked setting and an incredible local cave network, and it soon becomes apparent that there is a different kind of adventure to be had here.
The memory of Oudtshoorn’s Victorian glory days – when ostrich feathers were all the rage – is very much prevalent in the architecture that makes up the area today. The more money being made, the more the farmers would want to show off. Buildings soon became so extravagant that they were akin to palaces and so have been dubbed Oudtshoorn’s very own “ostrich feather palaces”. Yes, really.
Not just a local attraction, ostriches are a delicacy as far as Oudtshoorn residents are concerned. So don’t be surprised if your breakfast features scrambled ostrich eggs, or if your dinner menu is looking particularly ostrich meat heavy. In fact, these dishes are surprisingly palatable and definitely worth a try.
When it comes to Oudtshoorn attractions, the next big thing on the tip of any tourist’s tongue after ostriches is “Cango Caves”. They’re fairly famous and with the sheer size of their natural underground cathedrals it’s no wonder why. Cradling Oudtshoorn in their capable arms are the stunning Swartberg mountains. It’s here that you’ll discover an unmade road winding to the summit; also known as one of the most spectacular mountain passes in the world.
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Swartberg Pass is considered to be one of the most spectacular of its kind in the whole world, so you’re in for a treat – and of course some fantastic views – with this one.Discover more
Lying between the big tourist towns of Stellenbosch and Hermanus, Clarence Drive makes for the most idyllic way to travel from one destination to the other. And with numerous lay-bys, lookout points and pretty villages dotted along the way, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to views.Discover more
There’s something decisively inaccessible and elusive about caves. They evoke an image of stalagmites and stalactites – nope, we don’t know the difference either – echoing caverns, claustrophobia inducing spaces and a whole lot of eerie darkness. But the beauty of the underground world isn’t limited to the crazy cavers who deem navigating excruciatingly tight spaces to be a thrilling sport.Discover more
“Unique” seems a fitting word when it comes to describing Oudtshoorn. What was once a bustling hub for the Victorian fashion trade is now a quirky stop on the famed Garden Route just waiting for you to uncover its various charms. Check out our blogs to learn more about this sun-soaked valley town.
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Travel and lifestyle bloggers, Dan and Niki – a.k.a. Wanderlust Us – spent two weeks exploring South Africa's incredible Garden Route.
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