Oudtshoorn is one of our favourite stops along the garden route of South Africa. It is a little bit out of the way, but 100% worth the drive to get there!
Oudtshoorn is a small town one-hour north of George (the nearest airport) or 4.5 hours by car from Cape Town.
The scenery here is incredible and you are constantly surrounded by natural beauty and wildlife – Oudtshoorn is home to the world’s largest ostrich population after all.
On top of that, the weather is excellent all year round, and there are many fun and adventurous things to do in Oudtshoorn.
We have visited Oudtshoorn twice now and would happily go back a third time. It’s also a place where local South Africans take their holidays which is a good indicator!
We recommend spending 2-3 nights in Oudtshoorn depending on how much time you have. In 2 nights, you will be able to do 4 out of our 5 top things to do in Oudtshoorn and with 3 you can tick them all off as well as taking some down time.
Take a look at our top 5 things to do in Oudtshoorn (in no particular order) and enjoy your visit!
Our Top 5 Things to do in Oudtshoorn
Cango Caves are probably one of the most well known and popular things to do in Oudtshoorn.
The caves themselves are over 750 million years old. They are home to 100s of incredible formations from stalactites and stalagmites, to columns, flows and everything in between.
These have taken millions of years to form and are incredible to see!
The caves have so much natural beauty but also offer many adventures.
We have visited twice and first tried the heritage tour. This tour is designed to be accessible to all ages and fitness levels as you take an easy walk through the caverns, observe their beauty and learn all about their history.
The second time we tried the adventure tour and this was perfect for us! This took us deeper into the caves and required some clambering, sliding, squeezing and climbing through the caves themselves!
One of the sections called the devils chimney was quite a challenge indeed! The ‘chimney’ is a narrow tunnel going up almost vertically. You have to pull, push and drag yourself through until you get to the other side where the cave opens up again!
There are multiple sections and the last is called the postbox. At its narrowest point, the gap stands at just 27cm and you will have to slide through on your belly! There is a testing site at the ticket office to make sure you can fit through comfortably – use it!
If anyone is reading this and gets claustrophobic don’t rule this activity out. Sion hates small spaces but because the cave kept opening up into large caverns between sections and is well lit, he did not feel concerned at all!
It was so much fun and just a 30-minute drive north (29km) from the main town of Oudtshoorn.
Tickets are R120 for the heritage tour lasting 1 hour (R75 for children) and R180 for the adventure tour lasting 1.5 hours (R110 for children). The caves are open from 09:00-16:00.
Read more about the tour here.
This was one of our favourite things to do in Oudtshoorn! These guys are too cute!
The trip starts early, around 6am in summer and 7am in winter. After driving from our accommodation at Berluda Farmhouse and Cottages (who run the trip) you will arrive at their game reserve and board your safari vehicle. Sion even got a chance to drive the safari truck for a short distance!
The reserve itself its stunning and as the sun rises the landscape looks truly spectacular! After a short drive we pulled up at a good viewpoint for a morning coffee/tea and some traditional South African rusks.
Here you will find many types of antelope including eland and springbok, buffalo, giraffes and of course the meerkats!
The reason the trip starts so early is because the meerkats also start their day early. When we visited, they had around 15 meerkats on the reserve who have two separate burrows, perhaps one is their holiday home!
The guides from Berluda (we had Leon) have taken the time to come everyday to these burrows to make sure the meerkats are comfortable and not scared by the presence of the vehicle and humans – as a result, you are almost guaranteed to see many meerkats very close up!
We quickly spotted the meerkats and spent about 30 minutes watching them whilst the guide explained all about how they live and their routines. Apparently, they get up, sun themselves to warm up, clean their home, clean themselves and then head out for the day! Very civilised indeed.
This was an incredible way to start the day and we absolutely loved it. We highly recommend the experience as one of the top things to do in Oudtshoorn!
The trip is run by Berluda Farmhouse and Cottages as they own the reserve. The trip is open to guests staying at their accommodation (which we loved) but is also open to outside guests. Just send them an email to book.
The cost is R440 and well worth it!
Buffelsdrift Lodge is a game reserve and whether you stay here as a guest or not, we highly recommend visiting for food.
The restaurant is open from 11am – 10pm for lunch and dinner overlooks a waterhole and the rest of the reserve.
From your table you can expect to see hippos in the waterhole, various antelope around and if you are lucky the elephants might pass! We actually spent 3 hours here drinking, eating and taking in the views with cameras at the ready.
This really was a table with a view! On top of that, the food here is incredible. We came three times in total and particularly recommend the ostrich steak (R175)!
One of the things we love about Oudtshoorn is the area itself. You are constantly surrounded by dramatic mountains and rolling hills.
One of the most scenic and well-known drives is the Swartberg pass. The drive will take you through the Swartberg mountains for 23.8km and takes around 1 hour without stops.
For us, this was an entire day trip in itself. We left mid-morning so that we made it to the other side of the pass by lunch. From here we headed to the very picturesque town of Prince Albert for food.
Because the views were so amazing, we decided to drive the pass on the way back, but you can also return to Oudtshoorn via the main road R62 if you are short for time.
Ostrich Farm Tour
No list for ‘things to do in Oudtshoorn’ would be complete without an ostrich farm tour. The region is known for its ostriches and you simply can’t miss them!
Again, because we were staying at Berluda Farmhouse and Cottages we took the option to go with the same guide Leon.
We took a short drive to the nearby Ostrich farm to see them, learn about them and also learn about the farming industry.
Depending on what time of year you go will determine the ages of the ostriches you see (and whether you visit the hatchery). We were lucky enough to see babies right through to full grown adults and even see a mother incubating her eggs.
Again, our guide Leon was able to teach us all about the ostriches. They are quite hilarious to observe, with brains smaller than their eyeballs expect to see them trying to eat rocks and fences!
We really enjoyed the tour and it was good to see that the ostriches had so much space to live compared to some farms in other countries where the same cannot be said for their animals.
To end the tour is something quite special. The owner of Berluda, Laura, has worked with the local community for a long time and opened the Vreugdevoetjies Pre-School to provide education to 80 of the underprivileged local children between ages 1-6.
We visited the school for the first time 5 years ago and were very impressed with the work they were doing and happy to donate to their cause. You can read more about their work here.
Where to stay in Oudtshoorn?
We have been to Oudtshoorn twice and both times stayed at the beautiful Berluda Farmhouse and Cottages. These are luxury cottages set on beautiful grounds with a pool, ostriches (of course), a really good breakfast and the staff are all so friendly – this is an easy recommendation from us!
Check them out here.
In case you can’t already tell, we love Oudtshoorn and highly recommend you visit when you travel to South Africa. We would happily go back again!
We would love to hear your experiences when you go. Leave your comments below!
For more on South Africa, check out:
- Cape Town Pride: Everything you need to know
- The Complete Gay Guide to Cape Town
- Gay Bars Cape Town: The Complete Guide
- How to hike Table Mountain (the easyish way)
- 12 tips for keeping safe in Cape Town!
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