Highgate Ostrich Show Farm
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Flying High
When I was a child, I read a book entitled something like "Amazing Stories from Around the World." It may have helped to inspired me to be the world traveler I am today. I loved the book but somehow only remember one of the stories. It was about children riding and racing ostriches in Africa. I traveled to South Africa to attend the FIFA World Cup. I arrived a couple of weeks before the games began so I went on a short trip around the southern tip of the continent with my sister Meg and her South African husband Miles. We visited and stayed at the amazing Kragga Kamma Game Reserve where giraffe, rhinoceros, buffalo, warthogs and zebra would regularly come within a few feet of our lodge's front door. One morning a couple of ostriches paid a visit to my front door and I was reminded of the story. I asked my brother-in-law if this tale of the flightless bird races was true. Miles told me that he has a high school friend who runs Highgate, the world's first ostrich farm located in Oudtshoorn, a town we would be passing. After a glass of wine, a tour of the farm, a demonstration of how ostrich feather dusters are made and after having my hand pecked while feeding the world's largest bird, I found myself on the back of one of these 300 pound prehistoric creatures. Luckily I was in an enclosed area as one of the handlers later told me that these eight foot high birds can run up to 40 mph. If you've never ridden a bird, I highly recommend it.
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