A Pinotage with your Ostrich Meat Madame?

Trip Start Jul 10, 2007
Trip End Mar 11, 2008

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Flag of South Africa  , Western Cape,
Sunday, November 18, 2007

Garden Route
One of my good friends from Ottawa would always say to me: "You create what you fear" stop inventing worries!  This truism came back to haunt us in some form or another during this interesting adventure.  Not that we didn't absolutely enjoy our trip on the Garden Route but our sense of comfort was rattled a little.
Fear #1: Our youngest, as you may have heard previously, is passionate about hating any form of needle approaching or piercing his body.  Not only did he have two shots in Pataya, Thailand, one in Singapore (flu shot) and two others in Cape Town (dentist) but now in Knysna, he needed a blood test.  One would think that he was on an eight month vaccination tour.  Poor little one had a fever and a stomach ache that would not quit. 
Fear #2:  For a parent who worries about her kids being sick in a foreign country when nothing is ever clear or familiar, it is not always apparent when it is the proper time to consult medical attention.  Thank goodness for the advice of a trusted friend in Ottawa and the e-mail system, we did get XDude checked out by a doctor, who by the way was excellent, spoke French and had my nephew's name (good karma).
We all climbed into the car, soon to be re-named the "Ark" as the rain had not stopped thundering on us for the last 48 hours.  In Dr. Olivier's examining room, the "M" word came into the conversation (Fear #2).  My son had to be tested for malaria...it involved another shot to the arm (Fear#1).
The hour and a half following the visit, I kept very busy waiting for the results of the tests (Fear#2).  Luckily, they came back negative...it was only a gastro.  Nothing like antibiotics, sleep and the BRAT diet to cure a very sore stomach.
Back to touring in Noah's Ark; the next days brought more rain at even greater intensity.  As the boys were starting to grow gills and the ceiling was leaking on the bed in our room, we wondered if we would have to snorkel our way out of Knysna.  We did find out that the road leading us to our next destination was closed due to the severe flooding and collapsed roads and bridges.
Since our B&B was brilliant, although a little damp, we decided (not much of decision there) to stay another day and not to cancel any of our excursions.  Rain would not deter our fun.  With a less crampy kid in tow, his antibiotics and rain gear, we set out to visit Monkey Land.  It was a groovy park full of wet yet happy monkeys running around trying to steal stuff from us.  They love car keys and eye glasses that they never return.  Our guide from Congo spoke very eloquent French and described each monkey with admiration.  His favourite was the Capucin monkey; a cleaver creature that soon impressed us with his antics.   We saw the sweetest tan coloured gibbon walking around using his arms to swing on the ground looking peculiarly like the "Abominable Snow Man" in the "Rudolph" Christmas cartoon.  At one point, it rained so hard that we had to run under a shelter already occupied by twenty "Zabomafoos" (lemurs) and ten jealous and curious spider monkeys who unreservedly demanded our attention. It could be hard to top this "vignette".  Later on in the evening, I dried the drenched shoes on the opened oven door, hung up the soaked clothing and we sat in front of the computer to listen to a hockey game and then watch "Rudolph the Red Noses Reindeer".  It was a great day!
We left Knysna a day later than scheduled and before crocs could take up residence in the pool in the backyard.  We arrived at our destination a few detours later to Oudtshoorn; I have given up trying to pronounce this name.  The previous day near our Inn had been quite exciting.  Due to flooding, the bridge at the end of our street had collapsed under the harsh current of the stream; now a fast flowing river.  The picture in the local newspaper clearly showed a helicopter rescuing an assemblage of people temporarily suffering from a lapse in brain activity trying to cross the turbulent water "sans" bridge with their small van.  I was certainly impressed by the prowess of the helicopter pilot.  The trees around the area were massive and growing very close together.
We visited the area game park and were stunned at how much the floods had ravaged it.  Many animals had to be evacuated from the area.  A five metre long crocodile had also decided to "vacate" on his own by swimming over his barrier in the high waters.  It was probably trying to get to that swimming pool in Knysna.  Sadly, the colossal beast later discovered wading inaudibly in the river and surely trying not to be noticed had to be destroyed.
We later savoured the best meal of our trip; an ostrich fillet with cranberry and port sauce went down nicely with a glass of Pinotage wine.  I suggest that you pay a friendly visit to your nearest butcher and ask if he can procure some ostrich fillets for you.  Simply must be devoured!  You cook it the way you prefer your steak.
Our next stop would involve visiting Highgate, the oldest ostrich farm to thank the birds for their fillets of course.  We viewed the incubation room, saw the babies and fed corn seeds to the adult ostriches (they pinch).  We learned about the cost of feathers and how families made fortunes selling them and built enormous homes called Feather Palaces.  After, we stood up on the eggs that did not even crack even from the weight of Ty  and rode the birds and watched a bird race...funny sight.
Knysna is a little paradise and a perfect travel destination with its lush forests, the Outeniqua Mountains.  It also enfolds a gorgeous estuary of the Indian Ocean.  It would also be a magnificent spot on a sunny day which we seemed to have completely missed...rats!  The people are friendly and helpful.  The boutiques, restaurants, pubs and coffee shops (Ile de pain...wow!) are plentiful and offer very tasty treats. 
Oudtshoorn is situated in the Klein Karoo close to the coastal town of George.  It is surrounded by farmland  ideal for ostrich breeding grounds. Great trip!! 
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starlagurl on

Lots of animals
Wow, what a day, glad it stopped raining. You saw lots of animals, nice! I love the photos!

Louise Brown
TravelPod Community Manager

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