DeHoop was the next stop after Hermanus. DeHoop is a nature reserve….and we can’t believe Evelynn and Larry actually found this place. The drive is down a crazy dirt road for 40+km. We are just on time to get into the gate (phew) and pay the SAN park fee. Another 10km of dirt road to our cabin. It is rustic but perfect for us.
I won’t spend too much time on deHoop because I know the kids and Rich have info in their posts. The highlights included:
…and then there was the ill-fated mountain bike ride. 17km….very bumpy…kids not happy…our bums will take some time to recover from that one!
…and we will never forget the real life jungle Baboon experience (you can’t come to South Africa without a run in with the baboons). We were told – close and lock all doors and windows when you aren’t home, no food outside…we were compliant with the rules! Rich was sitting at the picnic table out back (with no food) and I was in the washroom inside and kids were sitting on the couches in the main area. Our kitchen 1/2 door was open and NO FOOD WAS ON THE COUNTERS….when…..Lulu started screaming and I heard Rich hollering in the back yard. I came running down the hall to Lulu screaming…”a baboon….in the HOUSE!”…WHAT???!!! I grabbed the closest (and only) weapon I could see….a floral throw pillow….aptly named “throw pillow:)” and came charging and screaming into the kitchen. I was face to face with Rich who was coming running into the kitchen from the back yard screaming his head off….and in between us…a SCREAMING BABOON! Apparently screaming was the theme! Well….he had made it to the coffee maker and grabbed the prepacked mini sugar packs and was headed to the exit (now 1/2 blocked by Rich)! Rich quickly moved out of the way….I wound up my swinging arm and my decorative pillow…..the SCREAMING BABOON looked at us (and likely thought we were CRAZY….) and made a run/jump/leap/swing toward the 1/2 door that he came through. BUT….with all the screaming and commotion….he was “stressed”….poor thing….NOT….and he CRAPPED ALL OVER THE KITCHEN FLOOR….and managed to THROW HIS CRAP ON THE WALL during his most graceful screaming exit! YUCK and STINK! ……Well…..we were all very proud of ourselves…we had quite literally SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF THAT GUY! (and happy to hear the cleaning service in DeHoop would be right over!)
Leaving DeHoop we headed inland to Oudtshoorn. This is “ostrich land” here in S. Africa. Many many ostrich farms and this is where Evelynn and Larry suggested we tour a farm and ride an ostrich!
It was much hotter inland…rising almost to 40deg…and this isn’t summer yet!
Our place in Oudtshoorn was lovely too. We had ample area to cook and chill and do some homework. The fences and gates are lower here and the safety of the area improved (although….we did forget to close the gate on the driveway after a run…and a man came up the driveway and knocked on the door asking for money). Rich and I have been able to go running in the morning (Oudtshoorn is hillier than it looks!).
Day 1 here we decided on Cango Caves and the Swartberg pass. They are both just 10km or so out of town. We took off late and were climbing the pass in late morning. I was really worried about the tires on our little Toyota. The road is dirt and many many big rocks to try to avoid. The two lane road is also unbelievable in parts. At the switchbacks there is no way I wanted to meet another car.
So me, Wilson the navigator, Lulu and dad the cheering section in the back and our manual wrong side of the road driving Toyota hauled up the steep pass. We of course stopped to do some geocaching (ie. Playing Suduko on the phone while I wait for the three muskateers). They were successful and proud of themselves. It was a pretty view of the valley from up there. The winds were fierce again…making the car vibrate! We hung on to Lulu and made it down in one piece.
Next up was Cango Caves. As I have said before, I don’t like the underground. So I decided no thank you to these caves (we have another set of “must see caves” in Vietnam so I am holding out my courage for that!). Lauchlyn thought the same about underground and Wilson decided he wasn’t that keen either. In the end – Rich went on the “adventure” cave walk and the three of us had a snack, cold drink and chill time at the restaurant.
Rich will write about his adventure walk I am sure but I am VERY GLAD I didn’t go….crawl through tight spaces etc…no thank you!
Hungry and too late to hit the local winery for wood fired pizza (apparently good at Karusa Winery), we drove back to town to a local café with good milkshakes.
Lauchlyn had bubblegum (tasted just like home…but no bubblegum pieces to her disappointment)
Wilson had galaxy –a combo of bubblegum and strawberry …..aka SUGAR RUSH.
Rich and I had berry smoothies!
We enjoyed a nice lunch there. Ev and Larry you should check it out if in the area again.
Today is ostrich adventure! When planning this trip Evelynn told the kids and I about her “ride” on an ostrich…which I believe entailed a lot of screaming and being “caught” by the ostrich handlers as she was falling/leaping off of the wild beast! So…..we didn’t tell Rich about it! We just put on the trip planner that while in Oudtshoorn Rich would ride an ostrich! We were looking forward to the video coverage (b/c Ev didn’t have any she was willing to show us anyway!!!)
BUT…to our utter disappointment…you have to be under 75kg to ride an ostrich! Uh oh…that leaves the kids and I!!!!
First at the ostrich farm is a tour. It was actually quite interesting…. We learned…..
We use our feather dusters incorrectly….(after we watched the guy make one…he makes hundreds every single day!)
You only pluck some of the feathers when the ostrich is alive…the other ones are on very firm sheaths or stalks that would hurt the animal if you cut them.
The eggs are incubated in large machines now at properly controlled temperatures. This way the ostriches lay double as many eggs (because they don’t see them in the nest and therefore make more and more and more).
The ostrich egg can withstand a lot of pressure “sitting” on it…but would shatter if dropped on the ground.
The ostrich baby pokes a hole in the shell when it has grown too big for it’s egg…for air!
You can’t tell the sex of an ostrich baby until it is 2 years old.
Ostriches have two fingers (under their wings) and two toes – one for balance and one for kicking!
Ostriches can run up to 70km/h and reach top speed in 2-3seconds ….WOW!
And my favourite….if you are being chased by an ostrich (not on my bucket list)….you should lie down perpendicular to it and it will RUN RIGHT OVER YOU! Never try to outrun them…they will kick you and HURT YOU!
So..we all took our turns hopping on the beasts for our picture…
..and then…Wilson was the brave one…he rode the OSTRICH!…hold on tight!
…and that was our stay in Oudtshoorn…now off to the beach in Wilderness!