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Ostrich-Mad in Oudtshoorn: My Egg-citing Adventures

by Jane McLellan

There are quite a few ostrich farms in the semi-desert area of Oudtshoorn in South Africa.  You can take a guided tour of the farms and if you’re feeling adventurous you can try riding an ostrich if you want to give your mates a real laugh!

An ostrich

Watching my best mate George ride an ostrich was perhaps one of the maddest, funniest things I have ever seen. George is an excellent horse rider, but even her experience of riding didn’t quite prepare her for the skill required to do this, it’s nuts! George and the huge bird ran around the field and all I could do was laugh until I cried, whilst trying to run after them to take photos.

During the tour we learnt about the hatching and rearing of chicks, collection of the eggs, mating rituals and all about the special characteristics of the ostrich. The guide told us about the valuable ostrich meat industry and information about other ostrich products such as the feather industry, tanning and curing of the leather.

Standing on Ostrich eggs, but they won't break!You can stand really close to these birds so we had the opportunity to touch, feed, sit on as well as, of course, ride them.  My favourite part of the tour was when I got to hold a baby ostrich. It was so cute. We also stood on some eggs and realized that it was impossible to break them! I kept expecting the eggs to explode, spilling giant yolk all over my trainers, but they were so strong!

Another ostrich highlight in the area is the ostrich steak restaurants. I ate an ostrich steak and it was delicious, but I should add that I did this the night before I visited the ostrich farm and I’m not sure I could have eaten one after being surrounded by them all day. However, it was very tasty! I also tried scrambled ostrich eggs for breakfast but I didn’t think that was quite so appealing – the texture was a bit weird!  Altogether we had a really ostrich-mad experience in Oudtshoorn!

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