Tag Archives: Oudtshoorn

Adventures with Meerkats

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Ostriches aren’t the only animal to visit in Oudtshoorn. Turns out this town, just north of South Africa’s Garden Route, is also a pretty sweet place visit meerkats too.

If you need a refresher, meerkats are cute little mongooses that live in the deserts and grasslands of Africa. Think Timon in “The Lion King.”

Better than the Disney cartoon, Meerkat Adventures takes small groups to see meerkats in their natural habitats. But the trip is not for those who like to sleep in. Watching these critters requires arriving at the site before dawn, when they arise.

After making the booking, tour guide and researcher Devey Glinister provides all guests coordinates and a pre-dawn meeting time from where he will guide the group via car to the viewing spot, which changes daily. He and his team study the meerkat families and know which hills they sleep in and where they move to.

Upon arrival, Devey and his team provide tea, coffee and a light snack (like delicious homemade rusks for dipping!) before settling around the hill and viewing the sunrise. From there, everyone watches with baited breath for the first meerkat to pop his head out, which could take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more.

My 4 a.m.-awoken, barely-functioning self fell asleep about three times in the waiting process, and I honestly don’t remember how long it took us to see our first meerkat, but I’ll guess somewhere around the 30-minute range. During the waiting time and after, Devey shares with you all kinds of information about meerkats, including the different family roles and survival habits. At some point, you watch the sentry, the first guard meerkat, pop out of his hill to check for predators, eventually followed by the rest of the family and the alpha at the very end. Together, the family grooms, basks in the sun and continues to watch for predators before moving on to start their day and the tour ends.

The whole process takes 2-3 hours and costs R 550 ($38.15). Great experience for wildlife lovers and those who wants to do something a little different on their trip. Vehicle required. For more info visit  http://meerkatadventures.co.za/home.html.

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What It’s Like to Eat an Ostrich

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I’m not a big meat person. I’m not even an adventurous food person. But I decided to take advantage of my time at the Highgate Ostrich Show Farm in Oudtshoorn to try ostrich during my visit and was pleasantly surprised.

Fun fact: ostrich meat is really good for you! Despite coming from a bird, it’s actually a red meat, but one that is leaner than beef with fewer calories and fat than even chicken. It’s also rich in protein and iron, making it a pretty good choice, meat-wise. As for taste, you’ll have to check out the video!

 

How to Awkwardly Ride an Ostrich

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Weather-permitting, many of the ostrich show farms in Oudtshoorn will allow visitors ride an ostrich as part of the tour.

If you want to see how to do this awkwardly, check out the video below:

 

Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Ostriches

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Long necks, funny faces, pretty feathers, really, who doesn’t love a good ostrich?

In South Africa, you can get your fill of them in more ways than one. Native to the continent, ostrich farms in Oudtshoorn are a popular traveler site where you can pet ostriches, ride ostriches, eat ostriches and learn WAAAY more things about these fascinating creatures than you ever thought you needed to.

My friend Sara and I paid a visit to Highgate Ostrich Show Farm, where for 140 rand ($9) and an hour and a half, we took part in all of the aforementioned activities. Our charismatic guide Danian packed tons of information into our tour. Based on this, please find…

Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Ostriches:

  • Ostriches are used for many things with multiple uses for their leather, eggs, meat and feathers.

  • One ostrich egg is the equivalent to two dozen chicken eggs.

Ostrich Egg

  • Male ostriches have naturally blue skin, female ostriches have pink skin.

Ostrich Blue Skin

  • Ostriches typically have one mate for life.

  • Sometimes a male ostrich will take up with two female ostriches, then the farm has to incubate the eggs themselves to prevent fighting.

Ostrich Trio

  • Ostrich eggs are very strong.

Strong Ostrich Eggs

  • Ostriches are fast and have strong legs, they can break your back and kill you.

  • If an ostrich runs at you, play dead.

  • When you play dead, an ostrich may come and sit on you for awhile. That’s cool, wait it out.

  • Ostriches are extremely fast, and can run up to 43 miles per hour.

  • Male ostrich feathers are the pretty ones, used for costumes and decorating.

  • Female ostrich feathers are better used for cleaning, like in feather dusters (no comment). Ostrich feather duster

Hope you learned something :).