Oudtshoorn

Overview

Introduction

There are some 150,000 domesticated ostriches in the world, and 120,000 of them live around Oudtshoorn, South Africa, a dusty town on the edge of the Little Karoo plain 210 mi/340 km east of Cape Town.

They wander the stony farms, scratching a minimal diet from the harsh desert scrub. Be sure to visit a farm (at some, you can even ride an ostrich), then head to the C.P. Nel Museum to learn about the history of the trade, which flourished in the days when ostrich feathers were a popular accessory. Plumes, once de rigueur for ladies' evening wear, are still sent all over the world.

There's also a nice suspension bridge over the Grobbelaar River. Be sure to go 20 mi/30 km north from Oudtshoorn to take a tour of the spectacular Cango Caves. Although somewhat overrun with tourists, the caverns are acclaimed as the most beautiful calcite in the world (and we won't dispute that). While in the area, also visit the Cango Crocodile Ranch and Cheetahland.

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