When in Oudtshoorn with kids, visit an ostrich farm. I am pretty sure that this is a rule for the Little Karoo, and certainly one that I followed when we found ourselves spending some time in the ostrich capital of South Africa as part of last year’s June school holidays road trip.
Established as a tourist attraction in 1956 by 4th generation ostrich farmers Derek Fisch and Harry Lipschitz, Safari Ostrich Farm is a commercial ostrich breeding farm in Oudtshoorn with a focus on extensive farming of ostriches for meat, leather/skins and feathers.
The 1800 hectares large farm is built around a beautiful old sandstone homestead called the “Feather Palace” – built in 1910 and harking back to the beginning of the ostrich industry when the Oudtshoorn farmers farmed with ostriches exclusively for their feathers (which at a stage ranked fourth to gold, wool and diamonds in terms of the value of exports from South Africa).
The farm has about 280 breeding South African Black ostriches onsite, of which about 60% are female. Interestingly enough, Safari Ostrich Farm also happens to be the first South African ostrich farm where you can see both the Kenyan Red and Zimbabwe Blue ostriches (both of which are surprisingly a lot more aggressive than our local variety). The farm is also home to a few rare white ostriches, as well as some Australian emu.
For the visitors to the farm there is obviously the ostrich product shop and little eatery to enjoy, but by far the biggest hook is of course the Safari Ostrich Farm’s little ostrich ‘safaris’ – an informative stroll and tractor drive among the ostriches and around the ostrich farm itself. In other words, loads of fun for the little ones.
Basically, expect all the staples of an ostrich farm visit, made all the better thanks to a polished experience and super friendly guides.
And yes, of course I had some ostrich for lunch.