It’s the town with the best air quality in Africa, according to the 2022 World Air Quality report, and its claim to fame is its ostriches (it boasts the largest ostrich population in the world).
Yes, we’re talking about the Klein Karoo’s Oudtshoorn, a charming little hideaway lovingly sandwiched between the Swartberg mountains and the Outeniqua Mountains – and home to Queen’s Hotel by BON Hotels.
Not only is this town a wonderful place to stay and explore, but it’s also a fantastic final destination for a fun-filled family road trip.
Still hoping to treat your household to an exciting Easter getaway?
Or maybe you want to make the most of another upcoming long weekend?
Save money on flights and load up the car instead. Here’s how to plan the ultimate road trip to Oudtshoorn.
Get packing and be prepared
Great news – you won’t have to worry too much about dodging potholes on your way to the ‘Ostrich Capital of the World’ if travelling from Cape Town. Roadworks on the R62 were officially wrapped up in June last year, promising a smooth and stress-free driving experience from the N1 in Worcester right through to Oudtshoorn and beyond.
Despite an improvement in road safety, be sure to prep your car ahead of the drive. Pump up your tyres, check your oil and water, and consider a service before setting off.
If travelling with kids in tow, don’t forget the padkos and the tablet (everyone knows extra screen time doesn’t count on road trips!).
Finally, make sure the sunscreen is accessible if you plan to make a few stops and take advantage of the activities on offer. There’s plenty to do in Barrydale, Calitzdorp, and many more of the towns along the way (more on that below).
Where to stop and what to do
Here are our recommendations for some memorable stops to enhance your road trip and allow the kids to release some pent-up energy:
- Paarl: Paarl is the third oldest town in South Africa and part of the Cape Winelands, so it’s obviously packed with wine farms. While the designated driver will have to opt for sparkling grape juice instead of wine, there’s still plenty of gourmet food to enjoy, gorgeous views to savour and various playgrounds in which the children can run free. Babylonstoren, which borders Paarl and Franschhoek, is a big hit amongst families.
- Robertson: You’re a third of the way there once you enter Robertson. Perhaps it’s time to lace up those hiking boots and hit the trails? Alternatively, wind down at Owl’s Rest Olive and Lavender Farm, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and a cheese platter before learning all about the process of lavender oil extraction.
- Barrydale: Barrydale is your approximate halfway point, and there’s yet another opportunity to top up your tummy (and your petrol tank) – this time at the Country Pumpkin Restaurant and Farm Stall, which is famous for its freshly baked pies and weekend buffet breakfasts.
- Ladismith: The farming community of Ladismith promises plenty of incredible encounters with nature. How about a soak in the mineral hot springs at Warmwaterberg Spa or a peaceful birdwatching walk at Wildekrans Wine Estate?
- Calitzdorp: You’re less than an hour away from Oudtshoorn now – so why not indulge in just one more adventure before settling down for the night? Calitzdorp is the heart of the port wine industry in South Africa, but aside from wine tasting, you can also explore San rock art at the Nels River Dam or relax with an afternoon of canoeing, mountain biking, or horse riding.
Things to do in Oudtshoorn
Just like the towns leading up to it, there’s an endless supply of activities to look forward to in Oudtshoorn:
- Explore the Cango Caves: Found at the foothills of the Swartberg mountains, the Cango Caves are full of underground spectacles just waiting to be discovered.
- Enjoy the wildlife: Cango Wildlife Ranch is a favourite for seeing wildlife, including birds, bats, porcupines, lions, and more.
- Meet some ostriches: Head to Highgate Ostrich Show Farm or Safari Ostrich Farm to get to know a few of Oudtshoorn’s famous ostriches. The latter also offers guided tractor tours, much to the kiddies’ delight.
- Visit the C.P Nel Museum: Here, history buffs can explore various exhibits on local history and the origins of the ostrich trade.
Queen’s Hotel by BON Hotels
On the hunt for the perfect base from which to explore Oudtshoorn’s many attractions? Queen’s Hotel by BON Hotels promises luxury from a bygone era and countless four-star comforts. Did you know it’s the third oldest hotel in South Africa, operating uninterrupted since 1880?
Choose from standard rooms, family suites, deluxe rooms, and self-catering units. All rooms and units come with free Wi-Fi, an LCD flatscreen TV, and air conditioning for your comfort and convenience. There’s also a glistening swimming pool, a bar, a breakfast room, a café, and a restaurant onsite.