Oudtshoorn is a small town in the Klein Karoo, nestled between the Swartberg and the Outeniqua Mountains in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. To locals and tourists around the world, Oudtshoorn is mainly known as the “ostrich capital” of South Africa.
I know that many of my fellow vegan / vegetarian travellers would be reluctant to visit Oudtshoorn because of its ostrich farming industry and the Wildlife farm that is located in the town. Thanks to my recent visit to the area in collaboration with Mossel Bay Tourism, I can tell you, that Oudtshoorn should still be on top of your travel list. You don’t have to visit an ostrich farm to enjoy this country gem. Oudtshoorn is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and I was lucky to experience it with two locals, Lukas from Travel-Ibiki and Nathan from At The Lighthouse Tours & Travel. They both run day tours and shuttles in and around Mossel Bay and I’d recommend them any day. With them you’ll arrive as a guest and leave as a friend.
If you look at the map of South Africa, you’ll see that Oudtshoorn isn’t a far drive away from Mossel Bay. Nathan and Lukas wanted to get the most out of this day for me – so from Mossel Bay they took me along the R328 and the scenic Robinson Pass. This route basically connects the coastal town of Mossel Bay with Oudtshoorn. Apart from the striking views of the beautiful scenery around every corner, the mountain pass offers historic sites around every bend. Please note, that the pass should only be driven in good weather conditions as frequent mountain mists can reduce visibility and make it dangerous to drive.
For a true country feeling, stop at the Sonop Farmstall and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee along the way. All warmed up by our coffees, we continued our day tour to Oudtshoorn, where we drove around the heart of the small town for some historic sites. The highlight of the day, an olive tasting and lunch at Surval Boutique Olive Estate was yet to come.
A visit to Surval Boutique Olive Estate, a chic farm-style hotel has been on my bucket list for a couple of years and I was delighted to finally experience it. Arriving at the beautiful estate, marketing manager Shanel welcomed us and we took our seats at the stunning Su Casa Restaurant.
The intimate restaurant has got wide glass windows, allowing you to enjoy the panoramic views surrounding the farm. Since Surval is famous for its olives, we started our ‘Surval experience’ with an olive tasting. On warm and sunny days, the olive tasting can be enjoyed outside in the olive grove, which makes a perfect setting for it. On our visit it was still winter and the olive tasting took place inside the cosy restaurant by the fire. I highly recommend this experience to all the olive lovers out there. Well, I guess the image speaks for itself, but I cannot highlight enough how delicious those olives were. Think fresh bread and olive tapenade.
This is foodie heaven at its best and the Surval olive oil is of TOP quality. You can even drink it, it’s that good. If you are looking for something to take home with you, this makes the perfect souvenir or gift. I unfortunately forgot to buy a bottle of their olive oil. It seems like I have to return to Oudtshoorn very soon.
Following the olive tasting we enjoyed a hearty lunch. The menu at Su Casa is as they say a reflection of the past, paying homage to the classic flavours and dishes that have stood the test of time. Expect good food, brought back to the basics made with love and care, creating a gastronomic experience that you’ll never forget. Su Casa caters for vegans – just notify the team of your dietary requirements.
If you visit Oudtshoorn in form of a day trip, the olive tasting and lunch is a great experience. But as Surval is a farm-style hotel, why not stay here for a few nights and enjoy a relaxing stay in the country side? The hotel is ideally situated (on the Cango Caves Road) to explore the Garden Route and the Klein Karoo and offers luxurious and comfortable accommodation in their 18th century Klein Karoo homestead. All 31 luxurious and individually decorated suites and bedrooms offer an indigenous South African feel. Each room is spacious, with the finest furniture and fabrics offering you an elegant experience of style and space. All the rooms at Surval are equipped with air conditioning, satellite television, free Wi-Fi, safe, mini bar, complementary tea and coffee facilities as well as a separate entrance.
Soak up the sun by the pool and relax with a glass of wine on the deck. This is the perfect place to hide from the modern world and to simply relax. As you can see, Nathan couldn’t resist to enjoy this tranquil place.
Surval Boutique Olive Estate can cater for weddings as well and if you are planning your big day, definitely keep this charming estate in mind. I’m sure the Surval events team will make your wedding day very special and memorable. I cannot think of a more romantic location for a country-wedding. Just have a look at the beautiful honeymoon suite – who wouldn’t want to spent their honeymoon here!?
Thank you Shanel from Surval for showing us around the farm and the hotel. I’ll be back for an overnight stay next time 😉
For any enquiries on Surval Boutique Olive Estate please visit:https://www.surval.co.za/
As it was time to say goodbye to Surval, Lukas and Nathan opted to take the route back to Mossel Bay via the scenic Outeniqua Pass (N 12) towards George. Definitely stop at one of the many viewing points on the mountain pass and enjoy the panoramic views of the Outeniqua Mountains.
Before heading back to Mossel Bay, we stopped at the Red Berry Farm in George. If you’d like to visit the farm, turn onto the R 404 towards George Airport / Herolds Bay at the end of the Outeniqua Pass. The farm as the name reveals is selling anything ‘berry’ and you can stroll on pathways in the beautifully landscaped garden. End your day trip with a hot drink in the cosy coffee shop and browse the shelves of the deli offering different farm products. The Red Berry Farm is family friendly and a great place to visit with kids.
I guess you can tell, that I had an amazing day in and around Oudtshoorn with the guys from Travel-Ibiki and At the Lighthouse Tours. If it comes to choosing a route, I highly recommend driving both mountain passes. Oudtshoorn can be explored within a day, but to experience some country charm, a stay at Surval Boutique Olive Estate enhances your experience.
A self-drive option has pro and cons. If you’d like visit the Mossel Bay area in form of professionally guided tours, check out Travel-Ibiki and At The Lighthouse Tours & Transfers. Travelling with them means sitting back and enjoying the comfort of not having to drive. Both Lukas and Nathan are very knowledgeable of the area and are always happy to assist with various tour options and packages at affordable rates. Even if you just need an airport shuttle to/from George airport, those two are your BEST contact. The vehicles used were in good condition, spacious, comfortable and clean. Nathan and Lukas will look after you and make sure that you are always comfortable, have enough water to drink and get ‘that certain stop’ you need from time to time 😉
Travel-Ibiki Tours (Lukas) makes your travel experience remarkable from start to finish and instead of worrying about the logistics, you can focus all your energy on having the experience of a lifetime. For any enquiries please visit: http://travelibikitours.co.za/
At The Lighthouse Tours & Travel (Nathan) specialises in day tours in and around the Garden Route and Route 62 – Longer tours and personalised tours are available on request.
For any enquiries please visit: https://www.visitmosselbay.co.za/listing/at-the-lighthouse-tours-travel/
I’d like to thank Travel-Ibiki and At the Lighthouse Tours & Travel for showing me around Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn. Big thanks also to Shanel from Surval Boutique Olive Estate for hosting us for lunch and the olive tasting. You all made this day tour a memorable one.
Disclaimer: I’ve been hosted by Mossel Bay Tourism to all the above activities. All opinions in this article are my own. Some of the images are credited to At The Lighthouse Tours & Travel and Travel-Ibiki.