Locals call Oudtshoorn the ostrich capital of the world. That’s because this tiny town’s economy thrives almost exclusively on the farming, feathers and tourism of this giant land bird. Since the mid-1800s, South Africans in Oudtshoorn have been supplying ostrich products to European dignities at home and abroad. And while Bushmen once exclusively inhabited the area, the boom in ostrich production attracted a large immigrant population of Jews that still inhabit the place today.
While Oudtshoorn is steeped in rich tradition and culture, it’s the town’s numerous ostrich farms that attract tourists to its otherwise quiet streets. From the Safari Ostrich Show Farm to Highgate Ostrich Show Farm to the Safari Ostrich Show Farm (see a trend?)—there are options for every traveler looking to get up close to these curious creatures and learn more about how they’ve influenced the growth of this Garden Route town.
Oudtshoorn is located 10 kilometers east of the Bongelethu township in the Klein Karoo region of the Western Cape. It is Swartberg and the Outeniqua mountains.