A massive hole in the mountain. Huge birds. Numerous palaces. Almost 200,000 people attending more than 100 shows in less than 10 days every year. Glorious sunshine, even in winter. An hour from the beach. An hour from snowy mountains. An hour from a yacht club. An hour from international golf courses. Winelands. Wildlife. Adventuring. Rural bliss; city comforts… Heaven.
Yet the almost uncanny irony that pervades this locality has a place called “Hell” just over the mountain, has this town named after a baron of the Holy Roman Empire, nicknamed “Little Jerusalem” by its devoted Jewish population at the turn of the previous century. A town that a quintessential caustic wit, a veritable “homo sapience” and a solon of the Afrikaans language, CJ Langenhoven called home.
A booming property market off a lower price base than the Garden Route and Coastal Region within 100km and a scenic hour by car. Quality of life homestead living is available at high yielding investment amounts that would otherwise have secured only cramped city highrise dwelling.
Astonishing environmental beauty to simply enjoy, or to challenge vigourously. In a radius of a single hour you can jump from an aircraft or jump from a bridge. You can abseil down a mountain or go spelunking inside it. You can swim with the sharks and live to tell a lawyer. You can even swim with crocodiles and live to tell Bubba over some corn liquor! Touch a tiger. Or touch a cheetah. An honest-to-goodness Acinonyx Jubatus, no less! Or adopt one! The Big Bird country has cats to match. And man, will you be taken for a ride – sweating on a scrambler, a mountain or a quad bike… or coolly in a climate controlled 4×4. Oh, and if you think we’re just full of hot air, try hot air ballooning for a bird’s eye view of some real ratites – big buirdly birds. No? Then go for a hike – in the most delightfully diverse domain you can possibly find on this small blue-green planet.
O, and here’s something serendipitous… Oudtshoorn boasts a coveted repute as a culinary enclave. Indulge in peasant fare and traditional viands of sought-after internationally acclaimed haute cuisine.
Educational facilities from Early Child Development (and a nationally acclaimed training lab to hone ECD skills) through primary and secondary and tertiary education to adult learning, arts and craft training and special needs education.
A community rich with writers and artists and crafters, Oudtshoorn hosts the biggest annual Afrikaans Arts Festival, the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees – a cultural event and economic vitalizer that sees the town bursting at the seems for some 14 days every year.
The first annual Klein Karoo Klassique – a festival of classical music, wine, food and art, was held in 2009 and the certain expectation is that future Klassiques will set new standards every year.
Oudtshoorn is also home to, arguably, but the argument is robust and convincing, the theater with the highest ceiling on earth. The Jamstreet Amphitheater has the naked sky for a ceiling – more awesome than Michelangelo’s Sistine… and, where else on earth can one see right into heaven, other than in the veldt outside Oudtshoorn?
A quiet but operational airport that lands small jets. A Medi-Clinic, a State Hospital run like a private facility, and specialist medical professionals.
Sui generis architectural wealth: meticulous sandstone masonry, surprising lofts, bullocky gables that curve skywards, and awesome wrap-around stoeps where dawn coffee and dusk drinks are enjoyed before a washing of magnificent Karoo hues imbue the cathedral Ostrich Palaces with an assumed spirituality.
In a town named after a nobleman that died trying to reach the land… we live the life he missed.