" Oudtshoorn " is situated in a very dry
valley surrounded by mountains and was named after the Countess Gesina
van Reede van Oudtshoorn. It is the most important town in the Little
Karoo and is still to this day the world centre of ostrich farming.
Oudtshoorn was founded in 1847 and has a population of about 50 000.
Before the First World War , over 750 000 ostriches were bred and farmed
in the area.
In those days, especially with the Ladies, it was very
popular to decorate hats, coats and dresses with ostrich feathers. The
ostrich farmers made a fortune by exporting feathers all over the world.
The Victorian inspired Villas, the so-called "Feather-palasts" from
this era are still to be seen and admired . During this " boom " many
Jewish immigrants came to Oudtshoorn and during this period the town was
also called “Little Jerusalem".
After the ostrich business stagnated for decades, it has
slowly been revived due to ostrich meat being almost cholesterol- and
fat free. Ostrich meat can be found on the menu of most of the finest
restaurants all over the world. The typical look and feel of ostrich
leather make it the ideal material for shoes, handbags and other