Geography, History & Economy
Oudtshoorn Local Municipality is part of Garden Route District Municipality.
MDB code: WC045
Description: The Oudtshoorn Local Municipality is a Category B municipality located within the Garden Route District in the Western Cape Province. It is one of the seven municipalities in the district.
The Greater Oudtshoorn area is nestled at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains in the heart of the Little Karoo region in the Western Cape. It is defined as a semi-desert area with a unique and sensitive natural environment. It was once the indigenous home of the Khoisan people, and so there are many rock paintings to be found.
The municipality’s development potential recognises the impact of being home to the world’s largest ostrich population, which is a key component of their agricultural industry. The discovery of the Cango Caves and continual allure of unique natural heritage has drawn people to this region.
Oudtshoorn serves as a regional centre for the surrounding agricultural area. The natural environment of the area creates a natural hospitality towards the tourism industry, and a related boom in accommodation.
Oudtshoorn is a centre of regional cultural, sport and art activities, and has, since 1994, been host to the nationally famous Klein Karoo Nasionale Kuntefees (KKNK), an arts festival held in March/April every year. A total of 411 temporary job opportunities were created directly by the ABSA KKNK, of which 76% were filled by black employees. The total economic impact of the ABSA KKNK is estimated at about R110 million, which makes the festival a major contributor to the economy in Oudtshoorn. A joint strategy was developed through the Greater Oudtshoorn Vision 2030 process to ensure both the broader benefaction of local communities and the sustainability of the festival.
Oudtshoorn’s relatively higher ‘development potential’ is directly linked to its geographic location on main transport routes, natural resource base, human resources, institutional centre function, and commercial services. Recent studies of Oudtshoorn growth potential identified it as one of 14 important ‘leader towns’ in the Western Cape province.
Area: 3 540km²
Cities/Towns: De Rust, Dysselsdorp, Oudtshoorn
Main Economic Sectors: Agriculture, forestry and fishing (17.3%), manufacturing (12.4%), insurance (11.7%), finance (11.7%), construction (3%)