Wednesday 16 July 2008

14th July 08

Date: 15th July 08
Location: Knysna, South Africa
Weather: Clear blue skies and sunshine, 19°c
Status: Stiffening up by the hour but happy again!

Woke up at 4.20am and was lucky enough to see the nearly full moon setting into the ocean, it was awesome a big orange ball disappearing and leaving a very dark night behind it.

Headed off from Buffalo Bay at 10am and filled the Colonel up with increasingly expensive South African diesel, I’m aware that its going up by a huge amount across the planet but its really starting to hit my budget in an enormous way, add to that the fact its only me that’s paying for the fuel in Owen’s absence and the expedition’s budget is taking a hammering; could be interesting in the latter stages of the trip.

Drove west along the coast to George where, horror of all horrors…..I pulled into a McDonalds at Bre’s request for the first time in nearly a year and we had a round of McFlurry’s….or something equally as stupidly named. Then turned north through the Outeniekwaberge mountain range climbing from sea level up to nearly 1000m winding along mountain passes.

Our destination was Oudtshoorn 50kms north and the Karoo Soul Backpackers where the others had travelled to the day before, we arrived there in an hour and found the others relaxing in the sunshine.

We left mid-afternoon to visit the Highgate Ostrich Farm for an afternoon’s entertainment…and so it proved to be! We arrived in time for a tour of the egg incubation process, the feather plucking and the hatchery, and then a short drive later the fields where the beasts roam!

We arrived at the rodeo site and several of our party were allowed to climb onboard a masked ostrich to see exactly how big and strong they were….and then the offer came to actually ride one around the arena. I of course stupidly stuck my arm in the air and was chosen to mount my steed in front of the group…..hmmmm.

I scaled the three steps which brought me level with the feathery back of my beast and swung my leg over before lowering myself onto the boney seta, I nestled into place to find the perfect riding position, grabbed firmly hold of one wing in each hand as the ‘stable boy’ removed the bank bag from its head and all hell broke loose!

My ride took off towards the other ostriches, swung dangerously close to the arena wall and accelerated alarmingly as the stable hands chased ‘Hannah the Ostrich’ around and around, with me hanging precariously onto her back! After 5 minutes of riding I graciously dismounted my ride by opening my legs and easing backwards until I popped onto the floor….to applause from the crowd!! What a laugh 

Headed back to the shop, bought a feather and made our way into town to the supermarket, bought some ostrich steaks and returned to the backpackers to braai them.

A very amusing a rewarding day. Bed.

End of day location: Oudtshoorn, South Africa
Distance covered: 141kms

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