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© SA Tourism© SA TourismHistorically, Oudtshoorn’s 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 were replaced by who-knows-what as the must-have accessory of the day, the feather palaces - 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. You can visit an ostrich farm and, while you’re in the mood for looking at strange animals, a crocodile farm, a few small game sancturaries and a wildlife interaction park. You could even take a ride on a camel. There are horse trails, a fabulous cycling trip and an interesting museum. Oudtshoorn is in the middle of the Klein Karoo Wine Route, and the Cango Caves, which are situated just outside the town, are well worth a visit. You could drive the scenic Swartberg and Meiringspoort Passes in a day quite easily, describing a circular route taking in the small towns of De Rust and Prince Albert.

In March or April, the town comes alive with the KKNK – the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, which started out as a celebration of alternative Afrikaans culture, but it has become pretty multi-lingual, with plenty of English spoken.

Oudtshoorn is on the R62, about 400km from Cape Town. The nearest airport is at George, about 60km away over the Outeniqua Mountains.

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