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Oudtshoorn, South Africa – The Ostrich Capital of the World

By Latitude34 @Lat34Travel
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Oudtshoorn, South Africa – The Ostrich Capital of the World

Each town on South African Garden Route offers a lot to tourists and it’s hard to choose the best one. However, there is only one town that’s called the capital of the world largest birds, ostriches. Sounds strange? The town has the world’s largest population of ostriches and ostrich related activities! You can’t miss the ostriches, because they are running around everywhere on their huge farms throughout and around town. If you decide to take a hot balloon ride you can feel like in you’re in Jurassic Park while watching ostriches running around on the ground.

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Entering Oudtshoorn is like getting into the kingdom of the ostriches. No matter if you’re staying in a hostel, hotel or guest house, in the morning you’ll be served some tasty scrambled egg. However, what you’ll be eating won’t even be one, because one ostrich egg can feed up to 12 people. While eating your delicious breakfast you might enjoy some amazing views of the mountains surrounding this little town. Your ostrich delights won’t finish after breakfast. Every restaurant also serves ostrich meat, as steaks, burgers, meatballs and manyother variations. However it doesn’t only taste good, it’s a great option for red meat lovers since ostrich hasway less fat, cholesterol and calories than beef. My favorite is still ostrich fillet from a braai, a South African version of a barbecue, finished with a glass of local wine.

People often ask, what can you do on ostrich farms? The tour around the farm starts by showing you many different types of ostriches and teaching you fun facts about them. Don’t get too excited about their cute faces, because won’t hesitate to bite you. One interesting fact about their eggs is that they are so hard an adult human can jump on one without breaking it. It’s pretty amazing!

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If you weigh less than 75kg (some farms allow visitors up to 80 kg) it means you’re eligible to ride an ostrich! I have to admit that riding this big bird has always been on my bucket list, but after seeing how strong and fast they are, I got a bit anxious about falling off.

The rancher grabbed my ostrich and put a white bag over its head. The reason for this being that because their minds are smaller than their eyes – poor ostriches don’t usually recall what’s happening. I was put on the top of the bird and told to hold the neck tight and keep calm. The moment the bag got removed from the ostrich’s head, it started running around. I was glad my ostrich didn’t get to leave the ranch, because ostriches can run up to 70 km/h.

At the end of your farm tour you can visit the gift shop. Even if you usually hate trashy souvenirs I strongly recommend a visit to one of the shops in order to see why an ostrich farm can be an excellent idea for a business. The souvenir store sells ostrich leather wallets, ostrich feather brooms, and perhaps the most fascinating, lamps made from their eggs. Each ostrich egg lamp has a unique design carved carefully onto the egg.

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Tired of seeing and eating ostriches? Is there anything else in Oudtshoorn apart from ostriches? The answer is YES, much more adventures! Oudtshoorn offers a wide range of activities at Cango Wildlife Ranch for the most endangered species in Africa, such as getting in a cage with cheetahs and petting them. The park also offers quite an adrenaline rush by offering a swim with live crocodiles. You get into a cage which is thrown into a pool filled with 4-meter long crocodiles. Don’t worry too much though; the crocodiles are fed before you get to meet them! Kids can also get a first-hand experience with birds, bats and other wild cats.

Situated 30 km from Oudtshoorn are the Cango Caves, some of the most spectacular cavern and tunnel formations in the world. Visitors can take a simple tour that takes you on a journey through the caves and their history while the more adventurous ones can take the adventure tour that takes you through the smallest tunnels, some as narrow as 27 centimeters, so get prepared for some crawling!

Anna Lysakowska is a blogger at Anna Everywhere. She has visited more than 46 countries and lived in 7 cities, including Mexico City, Boston, London, Cape Town, Florence and Leiden. She studied journalism at Harvard, international law at Oxford Brookes, and obtained her Masters in Latin American Studies from Leiden University. Since 2013, she has been residing in the Netherlands where she works at a marketing company, but this doesn’t stop her from traveling.

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