Ostrich Riding and Ranching!

March 17, 2006

Jonathan on an ostrichIn Oudtshoorn we went to visit “Safari”, an ostrich ranch and show farm. Well, I say it is an ostrich ranch because they say they are an ostrich ranch, but a quick discussion with the tour guide reveals that they are as much a tourist destination as a ranch. Why not? If I could double my business by giving tours, I’d add a ticket counter next to the water cooler too.

Soyan riding an ostrich.They raise about 3500 ostriches a year that sell for around $300 each. They also get 4-5 giant tour buses of visitors a day at $7.50 a head for the tour, plus a gift shop and restaurant. Quick math reveals that it is a toss up which business is bigger, the ranch or the tour of the ranch.

It makes sense, because they run a good tour. I learned such vital information as, ostriches will eat anything: rocks, tools, glass, shoes and sometimes even foodstuffs! This is because and that they have no teeth and they need rocks (or whatever else they find) in their stomachs to digest the food they eat. Other factoids included important information like: an ostrich egg is as big as 24 chicken eggs.

Ostrich RacingI also got to meet their oldest pair of ostriches (Jack the Ripper and Susie the Stripper), stand on ostrich eggs to prove that they won’t break, and sit on on an ostrich. If you weigh less that 65 kilos (143 lbs) they even let you take a brief ride. The tour finishes with a pair of jockeys racing ostriches.

It was silly, it was touristy, it was so worth it!

See more photos of the ostrichs.

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