10 May

About Oudtshoorn Western Cape

Oudshoorn looks like we spelt the heading wrong ? Read on to find out why.

Oudshoorn has long been a favourite holiday destination in the Western Cape South Africa with lots to see in this little town they call Oudsthoorn the capital of the Little Karoo or mostly known as the Klein Karoo which is the Afrikaans name for this semi desert region.

Names of places have always been an interesting topic when researching why some towns have a specific name and where it came from or in whose honour a town in South Africa has been named after and what the correct spelling of the town like Oudsthoorn would be.

Oudshoorn spelt this way would normally be seen as a misspelling of the town in the Klein Karoo at the end of route 62 from Cape Town South Africa along the famous Garden Route.

On this page we take a look and see that many people when searching for Oudtshoorn accommodation or Oudsthoorn hotel accomodation , misspell the town’s name when they type their query Oudshoorn instead of Oudtshoorn which contains a “t” after the “h”. Sometimes they also write the “s” before the “t” resulting in “Oudsthoorn” .We researched this and found some interesting reading.

The word accomodation like this one is also often spelt incorrectly where the writer assumes it only has one “m” in the word accommodation Oudshoorn thus affecting his or her search result in the search engines and coming up with results that are different to what he/she wanted.

Oudshoorn and the orgins of the name

We found the following interesting story behind the misspelling of the town’s name as Oudshoorn and will use both spellings on this page to illustrate our findings.

Oudshoorn derives its name from a Baron in the Netherlands where some people go by the name Oudtshoorn spelt the way the Towns name should be spelt and others by the surname with the spelling Oudshoorn which is even today a widely known surname in the Netherlands and is often misspelt as Oudsthoorn.

Pieter Baron Rheede van Oudtshoorn tot Nederhorst was born in Utrecht, the Netherlands in 1714. Since the age of 27 he was Lord of Oudshoorn, Lord of Gnephoek and Ridderbuurt and Lord of the castle Drakenburg in the Netherlands. The one area being of a similar name to his family name but without the “t” OUDSHOORN which still exists in Holland today.

While being the Lord of Oudshoorn he also held various senior positions in the VOC the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie in English the Dutch East India Company which traded with the east and had set up a halfway station in the Cape. He was a member of the justice and policy council of the Cape. In 1743 Baron Pieter Van Rheede van Oudtshoorn was granted land which he could farm on and this piece of land became known and registered as ‘Oudtshoorn Gardens’ . His piece of farming land was later used to build and run the by now world famous Mount Nelson Hotel. This important man left his mark at the top end of the company gardens with this grand hotel built on his Oudshoorn Garden. In 1760 he was appointed vice Governor of the Cape Colony. He returned to the Netherland 6 years later to retire and sort out his inheritance from his English uncle Peer William Ferdinand Carey, Lord Hudson who used to live in Alphen.

In this time he purchased the castle of Drakenburg of which he became Lord. In 1772 he decided to take up his position again as vice governor of the Cape but then the Governor at the time died and he was appointed as Governor of the Cape. On the voyage to the Cape to take up this position he himself died on board the Frigate “ASIA” on the 23 January 1773 and was buried in Cape Town with a remembrance Plaque at the “Groote Kerk” at the top of Adderley street Cape Town. A small note here, normally when people died on board ship, they were always buried at sea, but in this case being the important man he was, the body of Baron van Rheede van Oudtshoorn was preserved in brandy inside a coffin lined with lead for just on 4 months until his ship reached Cape Town. He had a state funeral with all the pomp and ceremony fit for a governor with a remembrance Plaque and tombstone on the outer wall of the “Groote Kerk” at the top of Adderley street in Cape Town.

His son William Ferdinand was born 1755 in the Cape and also worked for the VOC. He was member of the council of Policy in the Cape as well as treasurer. He died in 1822 and was buried on his property Saesveld at the top end of the Cape Town city bowl which today houses a museum in his house. William Ferdinand is remembered on a plaque in the church of Oudshoorn in the Netherlands bearing again the name of the misspelt town of Oudshoorn. His branch of the family lives on in South Africa today.

The Naming of the Town Oudshoorn

The youngest daughter of W. F. Van Rheede van Oudtshoorn named Baroness Gesina E.J. van Rheede van Oudtshoorn at the time married the civil Commissioner of George Mr. Bertus E. Bergh in 1820. The town originally pioneered by Pieter Nel and who’s name the town museum in the centre of town takes its name from, housing historical artefacts that he collected, was founded together with Bertus Bergh in 1847 and Bertus Bergh named the town OUDTSHOORN notice correct spelling used here as per the surname, in honour of his famous in-laws who’s head of the family was Baron Pieter van Rheede van Oudtshoorn who was Lord of Oudshoorn in the Netherlands. One of the main streets in Oudshoorn is named Baron van Rheede Street after the infamous Baron van Rheede van Oudtshoorn, Lord of Oudshoorn, Gnephoek and Ridderbuurt.

Oudshoorn or should I say correctly spelt Oudtshoorn later became known as the feather capital of the world in 1870 with its hot and dry summer became the home of the world’s largest non-flying bird the Ostrich. In this time many grand accomodation places were built also known as ostrich palaces built by the wealthy – most of them out of sandstone with rooftiles and glass windows imported from Italy. Today some of the accommodation in Oudtshoorn is housed in these historical buildings.

Accomodation in Oudshoorn was already prevalent more than 20 000 years ago when the Koisan lived in some of the surrounding caves as well as in the first part of the world famous Cango caves with dated rockpaintings proving this as support that people used the caves as accommodation in Oudshoorn in earlier days.

Now modern accommodation is offered at the De Zeekoe Guest House and farm in beautiful chalets with self-catering facilities and in semi luxury and luxury rooms, spread around the main house also widely used as a Oudshoorn accommodation bed and breakfast establishment. Come and enjoy a real farm holiday on a working ostrich farm just outside the town of Oudshoorn or Oudsthoorn. What’s in a name? You choose the way you want to spell it the main thing is that you make de Zeekoe guest farm your choice of stay while visiting Oudshoorn or should I rather end with the correct spelling Oudtshoorn in the Little Karoo along the famous Garden Route.