Thursday, 28 January 2010

How to Ride an Ostrich

Of all the things you thought you'd get around to doing in Cape Town & the Western Cape ... riding an ostrich has got to rate as the strangest by far!

Oudtshoorn is the ostrich capital of the world producing 75% of all ostrich products worldwide. So if it’s riding an ostrich you’re after, then its Oudtshoorn you’re heading to.

Located in the Klein Karoo in the Western Cape and at little more than 4 hours out of Cape Town, Oudtshoorn is just enough off the beaten path to make you feel like you’ve found a secret place.

To ride an Ostrich, you’ll need to visit one of the 5 Ostrich Show Farms in Oudtshoorn where you can observe large flocks of ostriches, cuddle the chicks and hand feed them. Ostriches are the largest birds on earth and when fully grown, they easily weigh over 120kg pounds. This however, does absolutely nothing to hamper their speed, which can reach up to 70 km per hour. They may not be able to fly, but they sure can cover ground in a hurry!

Professional multilingual guides take you on a conducted tour where you learn about the birds. Next there’s a chance to visit the restaurant and try out some ostrich steak which interestingly enough tastes more like beef than poultry. If you're a big group, you could even share an ostrich egg which easily feeds 20 people. Or try ostrich paté and biltong.

Finally if you’re really brave you can try sitting on an ostrich. Better yet, why not try riding it. Mounting one of these big birds is no easy feat, the ‘saddle’ is made of denim and the ostrich has no reins! Riders have to hold onto the ostrich’s wings for dear life and pray that they’ll last a few seconds once the guides let go. Then it’s all about trying to stay aboard a speeding bullet before the guides grab your arms at the end of a lap, and pull you off ! … the only way to dismount.

How's THAT for the ride of your life!