Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ostrich Show Farm

There is an Afrikaans song that says "Oudtshoorn is 'n groot voël paradys..." (translates to Oudtshoorn is a big bird paradise). And that is so true. Oudtshoorn is called the ostrich capital of the world as 95% of the world's captive ostriches are found around the town. In the early days ostriches were farmed purely for their feathers, but today every single piece of the bird gets used. They are farmed primarily for their skin which produces the world's second strongest leather after crocodile. Feathers get harvested off the birds and a total of 23 tons are shipped to Brazil every year for the Rio carnival while ostrich meat (red meat I'll let you know) is now in demand the world over due to their low level of cholesterol. Ostrich fillet steak made to perfection cannot be beaten. Tourism plays a major role in the tourism industry with at least three ostrich show farms in operation around the town. Highgate Ostrich Farm alone had more than 100 000 visitors last year through their gates.

Chaos Boy holding an ostrich egg
A visit to an ostrich show farm normally starts with an explanation of ostriches, where they come from and what is done with them. You get shown all their different feathers and what is used for. From there visitors get taken to the ostrich pens. Here you can hold a egg and even stand on it (it can hold 120kg) if you want to. An ostrich egg is the equivalent of 24 chicken eggs and can take about 1.5 hours to hard boil. Also, the egg, unlike the meat, is very high in cholesterol.
Drama Princess sitting on top of a "blond" ostrich
Visitors can also sit on an ostrich while its kept stationary on a feather plucking frame ...
... while the brave (as long as they weigh less than 75kg) can ride under the watchful eye of the professional ostrich jockeys.

At the end of the tour the jockeys (imagine being able to put on your cv that you are a professional ostrich jockey) will do a race. Here Hopeless (left) and Michael Schumacher (right) are taking part in a race at Safari Ostrich Farm.
GPS: 33°37'52.59"S, 22° 9'43.47"E


  1. Love the two blondies photo!
    Great post - looking forward to seeing more !

  2. Very interesting Jonker. Must have been interesting to ride an Ostrich. I look forward to trying a steak while in the area.

  3. That certainly looks like quite the unique place.

  4. A great post Jonker. If we ever meet remind me to tell about my last visit there. It is not a story for publication. LOL!!

  5. It always looks like such fun, riding on an ostrich and yet when we were there, I was toooo much of a scardy cat to even try! Nice photo's Firefly - love the smiling faces of the kids!

  6. Kiddies of yours had such fun, it shows all over their face...those poor guys really have to run!!! * giggle* something I'm missing right now.

  7. Amazing post. 45 Years ago I went on holiday with my parents and the Safari Ostrich farm was one of our destinations. In fact I have a photo of me sitting on an ostrich just like Princess did and they had a similar race. I just hope it is not the same two jockeys from way back when! Thanks for wonderful memories today.