Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ostrich Farms in Oudtshoorn district

Yesterday we got as far as Mossel Bay. From there to Cape Town you drive through the Overberg which is mainly farming country and not much else.
If you cross the Outeniqua Mountains from Mossel Bay (on the Robertson Pass) and George (on the Outeniqua Pass) you get to the Klein Karoo. Klein comes from Afrikaans and means little while Karoo comes from the Khoisan language and means "Place of thirst". The Klein Karoo and in particular the area around the town of Oudtshoorn has become a natural extension of the Garden Route. The Klein Karoo is vastly different from the Garden Route in that as you cross the mountain you are in a different world. The area's climate is dry and hot with the vegetation consisting mostly of Karoo shrub, grasses and low bush (oh yes, and also lots of stones).
The Klein Karoo is probably best known for its ostriches. There are many ostrich farms supplying both the local as well as the export market with ostrich meat. The meat is very healthy. Strangely ostrich meat is a red meat and has virtually no fat or cholesterol. This means that somebody with high cholesterol who can't eat red meat can still enjoy ostrich. Ostrich biltong (dried meat like American jerky, just better *hee hee*) is very popular here in South Africa while the feathers are exported for the use in costumes for festivals. Some day when I'm really bored I will do an post on ostriches and give you all the nitty gritty of ostriches.

Around Oudtshoorn some of the biggest tourism attractions are the ostrich show farms. You can't visit the area without going to one of the show farms. Here visitors are showed everything there is to be known about the ostrich. From breeding to their legs, feathers and heads and then what products you get from ostriches. Then its on to the camps where visitors can have the opportunity to stand on an ostrich egg, touch an ostrich, sit on one or (if you weigh less than 75kg) even ride one. At the end of the visit professional ostrich jockeys (how many people can put that on their CV's) will do an ostrich race for the visitors. Here Michael Schumacher on the right and Hopeless on the left is having it out for first place.

6 comments:

  1. I love ostrich meat! This tour of yours is quite something!

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  2. Umm never eaten ostrich, and I never knew you could ride on them, that is just amazing, professional Ostrich jockey !!! I'd love that on my CV, hahaha

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  3. Ostrich fillet marinated in orange juice, ginger, garlic and olive oil! YUM!

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  4. We love ostrich meat, I never buy beef mince or patties anymore! LOL at that second photo, it is brilliant! Ostriches are such peculiar birds, they always make me laugh (until they start chasing me...).

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  5. I showed this to my kids and they were AMAZED someone could actually ride an ostrich!

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  6. I really like the taste of ostrich. Very tasty. It would be fascinating to put ostrich jockey on one's resume. Great pictures.

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