Oudtshoorn, Little Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa




Oudtshoorn is the largest town in the Little Karoo. Historically, its commercial success was based on the vagaries of European fashion and the insatiable need for the incredible feathers of the town's loveliest and leggiest inhabitants. Well, as Ostrich feathers went out of fashion, the huge stylish homes built on feathery fortunes - fell into disrepair.

But the town recovered and the poor old beleaguered bird is still in great demand - now for its characteristically textured skin and low cholesterol, low fat meat. One of the best ways of seeing this area is on an escorted scenic trip, with optional cycling, and traditional cuisine. There is some incredible rock art in the area. The nearby town of Calitzdorp produces excellent quality port and, on the other side, the small settlement of De Rust makes excellent red wine. Oudtshoorn is on the R62, about 400km from Cape Town. The nearest airport is at George, about 60km away.

The Cango Caves is one of the great natural wonders of the world with its interesting limestone formations in a wide variety of colours. It is only 30km from Oudshoorn and lies in the Swartberg Mountain Range in a limestone belt measuring 1,5km in width and almost 16km in length. The Cango Caves boasts some of the biggest stalagmite formations in the world.