South Africa Diary 13 August 2002
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I departed on the Garden Route this morning. This section of the South African coast, running from Cape Town on the West up as far as Port Elizabeth in the east is billed as one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline. There are beaches galore, great surfing (if you can - I can't), cities, towns and hideaway little places to stop and explore along the way. I'm heading to Oudtshoorn (pronounced Ord-ts-horn) a few hours down the road. The bus that I'm on is like every other backpacker bus, the same backpacker music, the same conversations, the same 'tsss, tsss, tss' of walkmans playing - I've been traveling too long!

Oudtshoorn used to a very affluent town in the times when coloured ostrich feathers were a major fashion accessory. That's because they farm ostriches here. Unfortunately, with the invention and widespread use of the motor car, hats and dresses no longer fitted too well and the market died (rubbish, obviously, but there had to be some sort of reason and why not blame it on the motor car?). Nowadays, the town falters along on the back of tourism, with a couple of show ostrich farms, a wilderness park and some caves[Click to enlarge image] to climb around in. I had a play in the caves and a ride on an ostrich (well you have to really don't you?). A legitimate form of transport, or just an excuse to laugh at tourists as they struggle to hang on while the two metre high bucking bird gallops around the paddock? You'll be able to judge for yourself when I get the pictures up (see above). Still great fun was had by all, with the probable exception of the poor bird that had to put up with me sitting on its back![Click to enlarge image]

To tomorrow

Created by Dan Leigh 16/08/02