Birds of a feather …
So after waiting for the sun to start shinning and being rewarded with more grey i decided to head on knowing i would be back here as i didn’t get close to seeing all i wanted to. Next stop Oudtshoorn, a short way down the R62 and slightly more bustling than Calitzdorp.
I arrived as the rain came down and figured i would head straight for the Backpackers Paradise and check it out … i had heard very good things. I arrived to a fire burning in the reception / dining area/ lounge and was directed to the free coffee, which was welcomed openly by my caffeine habit.
After a coffee or five, i had a wander around the place and it really is a little slice of paradise. Big comfy rooms, that come in dorms, family rooms and doubles. A sweet little pub at the back called Mojo’s, a nice Garden area for drinking beers from the aforementioned pub, there’s a swimming pool, and a hammock that despite the weather made me feel like taking the rest of the day off and staring into space.
After a great welcome and some more coffee, I had a chat to Riaan, about what to do around Oudtshoorn and was amazed at just how much one can get up to in this bustling little place.
As it was still raining i head off to see the local museum and C.J. Langenhovens house, he wrote the poem that formed and forms part of the South African National Anthem, neither was mind-blowing, The museum was pretty informative about the history of the Ostrich industry which seems to make up a fair slice of life in this place.
After a bit of work on some photos and a few beers in front of the fire-place i crashed hoping i was going to see some sunshine the next day and explore this gem of a town.
The next day dawned, wasn’t sunny but it wasn’t raining … after a killer cooked breakfast at the backpackers (they also offer healthy alternates to bacon and eggs) i jumped into my car and head up to the Cango Ostrich farm, which the kind folks at the backpackers Paradise had organized for me and i guess it would be a serious fail to pass this part of the world and not visit an ostrich farm!
I arrived and was warmly welcomed and offered a coffee and a comfy chair as the tour was due to start in a few minutes. The tour itself was run by an awesome guide Ann-Marie who was funny, talkative and answered just about everything the group threw at her, sad to say short of buying the odd ostrich steak i had no idea how much industry surrounds these creatures. The ostriches really are funny creatures, they look permanently intrigued and constantly gathered to stare at the tour as we cruised round the farm.
You also get the opportunity to feed, hug, ride (We didn’t – the rain had made it to muddy for the birds) and get a neck massage from the birds … there are plenty of great photo opportunities and a visit to the Cango Ostrich Farm is well worth it. And if you are feeling peckish you can smash some tasty meals at the restaurant from kebabs to steaks.
After a quick wander round the shop, i headed to the Cango Wildlife Ranch, which is a pretty cool place … i never know how to feel about keeping animals in restricted spaces … i don’t like zoo’s, that said they are running quite a few breeding and conservation programmes which are contributing to the survival of these species so its hard to be too judgmental. The variety of wildlife is pretty good, Cheetahs, Leopards, White Lions, Tigers, Crocodiles, Bird Life, meerkats … hell if i listed them all it could take a while.
There are guided tours which i seemed to miss continuously due to being sidetracked by discovering another part of the park. Definitely include this on your list of things to do, they also offer some opportunities to get up close and personal with cheetahs and tigers – which are pretty pricey but i imagine well worth it.
Entrance was R150, aside from a few good photo’s i am still uncertain if i should feel aggrieved … Nah it was worth it, watching two leopards fool around like kittens was a great way to spend an hour.
While here, also visit the Cango Caves mentioned in my previous blog, Head to Rus and Vrede waterfall for a swim and definitely try some of the local fare in the form of Ostrich… its delicious. I haven’t even got close to seeing and doing all there is to do in Oudtshoorn and time was short so i hopped back into the van and headed towards George where i had organized to go on another two-day road trip up to PE to catch the Boks playing England .
On the way to George you pass over and sometimes it seems through the Outeniqua Mountains … this road is a must drive! and stop at the various viewpoints as it truly is spectacular. I spent far to long staring at the landscape before heading into George and a weekend with the lads watching the Springboks.