Ostrichs and Caves

South Africa is an undeniably beautiful country. Today I sat up on the beach with wind blowing through my hair as we passed through the mountains. There is lots of room on the truck to stretch out, sun tan and chat with everyone.

After a night in the quaint town of Swellendam, we travelled to an ostrich farm. Ostrichs are far from my favourite creatures – I wasn’t unhappy to see one being devoured by a lion – but today I learned and experienced almost enough to change my perceptions. We saw the eggs (indestructable), the chicks (quite cute!) and nippy adults who we were allowed to ride. Riding an ostrich also did not sound like my idea of fun – but I figured it was about as close to riding a hippogryff as I was ever going to get! So swallowing my trepidation and pretending he was Buckbeak from Harry Potter, I hoisted myself up onto an ostrich, whose head was covered by a canvas sack. Gripping firmly onto the wings, I braced myself as the bag was removed from the head and the ostrich bolted into a bumpy gallop! I lasted about 10 strides before tumbling off the back end… but at least I could say that I did it!

We then moved on to the Cangol Caves, a spectacular calcite rock formation of stalagmites and stalactites. I did the “adventure” tour, which involved crawling through tight spaces, climbing up chimneys and slipping and bashing my head on a rock (not mentioned in the brochure!) All was well, and somehow all of us managed to slide through “the letterbox”, a tiny crack about 27cm in width. I really must have lost weight on this trip! It won’t last long, especially if ostrich steak is on the menu… on a plate is still my favourite way to encounter an ostrich, despite today.

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