The South African Excursion, Part 2: The Ostrich Farm

It was a bright and warm morning, and the car finally stopped at a wonderful place: the ostrich ranch. We walked past the restaurant and past the gift shop to reach the place where our tour would start. The tour guide started by showing us a replica of an ostrich’s skeleton, explaining how its knees were actually ankles, with what looked like its ankles actually being the knuckles of its foot. The tour guide showed us an ostrich pelt, covered in bumps from where the feathers were. They also showed us some jarred organs, displaying that an ostrich’s eye really is bigger than its brain.

They also had some ostrich food on display: maize and mystery pellets, which we’d already bought some of. We then were lead outside were we fed the ostriches. They were very greedy, and did not hold back, eating the entire handful in one go. The younger ones were smaller, gentler, and had less painful bites, but by we had so little food when we got there that they barely got any.

We learned a lot about ostriches at the farm. We got a chance to stand on the ostrich eggs, which are capable of resisting a lot of pressure. We learned the difference between male and female ostriches – females have brown feathers, males have black feathers. And we were treated to something super special.

We got to ride an ostrich.

Well, more like sit on one, in a small enclosure where it was kept standing. One by one, we climbed in its surprisingly sturdy back, petting its soft neck. The were three other ostriches in that enclosure, and they gave off a perfect display of their tiny brains, because they bit everything that was shiny – including the buttons on my shirt and the sunglasses on Aunt Helen’s head.

After the tour ended, we had lunch at the restaurant. And I decided ostrich tastes delicious. It’s like beef, but a bit more earthy. I also decided that ostriches are kinda cute. After you get past the bald-looking head that they have.

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