South Africa is quite big – 3 times larger than Germany – so getting to a small, specific place can be quite tricky and time-consuming. The upshot is that the journey can be often as wonderful as the destination, bringing you closer to things you wouldn’t normally see.
Hannah’s friend, Nerina, lives near Mossel Bay, which is said to be one of the jewels of the Garden Route: South Africa’s well-known and frequently-visited southern coastline.
|A beach at Mossel Bay|
Getting to Mossel Bay from Malawi involves two flights (with three take-offs as the first plane collects passengers from Blantyre) and a long drive east from Cape Town.
|Day 1: fly from Lilongwe to Cape Town via Jo'burg...|
|Day 2: drive from Cape Town to Oudtshoorn along Route 62|
The route taken is a popular and stunning drive called ‘Route 62’, which takes your car up, down, through and around beautiful and diverse landscapes. We were driving to Oudtshoorn, a large provincial town, before heading to Mossel Bay.
|A peak in Haweqwa Catchment Reserve, near the Winelands|
|A tunnel in Hawequas Mountain Area|
A couple of stops were necessary to savour the beauty of the backdrops surrounding us. We parked at a wine reserve and café atop a hill near the village of Nuy. It seemed packed considering it was half past ten in the morning on a Sunday; I got the impression that places like this are the equivalent of village pubs in the United Kingdom, where families get together and spend a lazy morning or afternoon.
|The view from Nuy Wine Reserve|
|French Twist, complete with bacon, cheese and fruit|
Later down the stretch was a village called Barrydale, which was essentially a community of bed and breakfasts and cheap eats. One place full of character, not to mention calories, was an Americana joint called Diesel ‘n’ Crème. Sickeningly sweet and sumptuous shakes.
|Could be Route 62, could be Route 66...|
|The Cruella de Ville: Belgian chocolate and|
The sugar helped maintain alertness for the remainder of the drive to Oudtshoorn, though the soaring peaks of the cliffs and snaking roads through towering passes were worth staying awake for.
|Mountains in the Klein Karoo|
|Coming down from the mountains towards Oudtshoorn|
Oudsthoorn itself is unspectacular aside from hosting a massive amount of feathered friends.
|The largest and fastest bird in the world|
|Ostriches only have two toes - one to hold|
them upright, and one for balance
There are quite a few ostrich farms in Oudtshoorn. Through friends of friends of friends, we were able to get a complimentary tour of the Safari Farm, which has three types of ostriches and a collection of emus from Australia.
|This is the Kenyan Red ostrich, the most aggressive of the|
|Emus are slightly smaller than ostriches|
Initially we walked around an enclosed section of the farm, which allowed us to balance on some infertile eggs and feed some of the hungrier birds.
|These infertile eggs weigh about 1.5kg and|
can hold over 200kg when horizontal
Later on we piled into a tractor and drove alongside the ostriches, whose curiosity brought them up close and personal with us.
|That big toe can do a lot of damage|
Finally, we were taken to a room where they showed us how they use the ostriches which they breed.
|Ostrich leather is the second strongest around, after kangaroo|
|1kg of ostrich feathers used to be worth more than 1kg of gold|
Most interestingly, we found that the males do a strange dance as a mating ritual.
As with many places in South Africa, Oudtshoorn’s ostriches were a pleasant surprise. The journey to find them, along the twists and turns of Route 62, was just as enjoyable and highly recommended.
Love you all