Oudtshoorn

Oudtshoorn as a South African town dates back to the mid-1800s and is principally known for the production of ostrich products. I visited last year and in this post just wanted to walk around the town and take in some of the sights after a long day in the car the previous day.

Looking in the direction of the coast we could see the clouds rolling over the top of the Outeniqua Mountains, and in the other direction lay the Swartberg Mountains. These were the back streets, away from the Ostrich Palaces and the grander buildings.

Looking towards the Swartberg Mountains, with clouds rolling over the top

The Swartberg Muontains beyond OudtshoornOudtshoorn back streets

The houses belonging to the wealthy merchants and ostrich producers were built on a grander scale, free-standing and often decorated with broekie lace. Mimosa Lodge and the Le Roux Town House being only two of many.

Mimosa Lodge (1907), built for Robert Sladowski, a merchant
Mimosa Lodge (1907), built for Robert Sladowski, a merchant
Late 19C town house
Late 19C town house
20C house perhaps?
20C house perhaps?
Baron's Hotel - no further historical information
Baron’s Hotel – no further historical information

Like all the Karoo towns there are many eateries!

Oudtshoorn
Oudtshoorn

In 1838 the first, simple, Dutch Reformed Church was built on the farm of Hartebeestfontein; in 1847 500 plots were laid out alongside the rivers in the town, marking the establishment of the town. In 1859 work started on a new, larger Dutch Reformed Church which was finally consecrated in 1879. Ds George Murray (son of the famous Andrew Murray) worked here between 1892-1911. The Anglican St Jude’s Church dates from 1863 and was one of the churches designed by Sophia Gray, the wife of Bishop Robert Gray of Cape Town. Oudtshoorn had a very large Jewish community and not far from these two buildings is the Synagogue. (There are many other churches in Oudtshoorn.)

The Dutch Reformed Church, Oudtshoorn
The Dutch Reformed Church, Oudtshoorn
St Jude's Parsonage, Oudtshoorn
St Jude’s Parsonage & Church, Oudtshoorn
The Synagogue, Oudtshoorn
The Synagogue, Oudtshoorn

The Grobbelaarsrivier runs through the town and as well as the firm roadway it is crossed by a rather wobbly suspension bridge dating from 1913 – I chose the firmer crossing! The stream looks rather insignificant, but there are regular floods, as the photograph below shows (2014).

The suspension bridge over the Grobbelaars River, Oudtshoorn

Oudtshoorn floods (https://www.ams.org.za/gallery/flood-rescue-oudtshoorn)
Oudtshoorn floods (https://www.ams.org.za/gallery/flood-rescue-oudtshoorn)

And everywhere there were these beautiful grasses, in flower.

Grasses in Oudtshoorn

I was in the town to see family and while sightseeing was not the first priority I enjoyed walking in the town.

Further information
Photographs from Oudtshoorn – interesting
Posts on Oudtshoorn – interesting
Historical buildings in Oudtshoorn

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