The Klein Karoo
Trip Start Jun 15, 2011
84Trip End Jun 01, 2012
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Initially we were a bit concerned about this tour as the very first place the signs led to was directly into the Sedgefield township and we quickly and as discretely as possible, locked our doors and sped up slightly to get out again. I have been told too many times to avoid townships so was surprised that the tourist route headed straight through
Although it was interesting we still weren't overly impressed by the tour, but that was before we came over the crest of the hill and were greeted with the most amazing views over the sea and lagoon at which point we were starting to come round to this slow town idea. Around every corner was an even better view!
The great thing with the garden route is that everywhere has amazing views and over the course of the week Katy had found at least half a dozen perfect spots for her future B&B. One of the best views was along the drive between Knysna and Oudtshoorn
Even before we arrived into Oudtshoorn we saw fields full of Ostriches next to the road. I believe it has been a lucrative industry and the Ostrich farmers in the area have made a fortune over the years. We drove past lots of signs advertising Ostrich Biltong and painted Ostrich egg souvenirs.
The Oudtshoorn area is very touristy with 3 main experiences to do which are:
1. Cage diving with a crocodile
2. Riding an Ostrich
3. Going into the Cango caves.
There are even tourist Tshirts which declare that you have completed these 3 activities
We had absolutely no desire to cage dive with a crocodile but did want to see the Cango Caves and the Ostrich farms. We decided to go to the Cango Caves first thinking we might miss some of the tour buses... WRONG!
the Cango Caves is actually somewhere I have been before however I don't actually remember it as it was over 20 years ago when I was a toddler. I did have the T-shirt to prove it though.
There are two trails through the Cango Caves and we wanted to do the adventure trail which goes deep into the caves through some tight areas but unfortunately it was closed so we just went on the standard tour... with lots and lots of other people! The caves are beautiful but have been quite badly treated by tourists over the last few decades causing thousands of years worth of damage and that has led to them closing off quite a few areas in order to protect the caves for the future. People used to snap pieces of limestone off to keep as souvenirs and you can see the damage to the colour of the rock from people touching things as they walk past. You are told not to touch anything but hardly anyone listen to that so I'm not surprised they have decided to keep tourists out of the majority of the caves.
All in all it was a good tour and the limestone Stalagmites and Stalactites were very impressive. It was also interesting to see how cheap it was compared to other caves we've been to in Australia and New Zealand.
After a coffee we then drove back into Oudtshoorn to the Cango Ostrich farm where we luckily managed to get on a tour just before the huge groups of tour buses appeared
An Ostrich egg can feed about 11 people and you can buy them from local supermarkets although I'm not sure what they taste like. We were keeping away from eating any Ostrich meat or eggs as we had heard about a bird flu outbreak in the area some months ago which led to a number of birds having to be culled. Chances are it would be fine, but we didn't want to take any chances. The whole thing seems to have been swept under the carpet, no doubt to protect the tourism industry and apparently they re-opened the doors quite quickly after the outbreak.
The last thing we did was to have an Ostrich massage. You stand with your back to the Ostriches holding a bucket of feed and they then lean around you to eat while their necks give you a massage. I've never seen a less relaxing massage as the photo of Katy will show
So that was the end of our time along the garden route and we then had a 5 hour drive to Hermanus along the N2 highway. We drove past Mossel Bay where we DID NOT dive with great white sharks. We looked into the possibility of going along on one of the boats to see them but the price was the same as diving, which was of no interest having seen too many Youtube videos of cage diving gone wrong where the sharks get into the cage.
In Hermanus we met up with my aunt, my cousin and their friends to have lunch at an awesome seafood restaurant called Lemon Butter. The food was delicious and we were sat in the window overlooking the sea... we were there for hours just having amazing wine and food. That is the life!
Next up, Cape Town!