Thursday, November 15, 2018

South Africa Day 9

We briefly visited Cape St Francis Lighthouse as we set off in the coach for the day.


This land nearby is set aside for a nuclear power plant, and South Africa already has two such plants, providing 5% of the country's power needs . It appears the construction of the Thyspunt reactor is on long term hold as many issues about the location are debated. As an aside, South Africans argue that power is being sold off more cheaply to Zimbabwe than to the people of South Africa. Sounds rather like our own Australian gas. 


We stopped for morning tea at the quaint little Kontrei Kombuis Country Store. One white woman who must have been over 70 took the orders and the money while the black staff did the food preparation and made the tea and coffee. Some of the bread I mentioned at the barbeque a few posts ago was being cooked outside on a hotplate. It was another case of a white woman seemingly surrounded by black people and quite comfortable with that. We didn't see any other white people there, but our guide told us there would be that evening in the adjoining bar where an important rugby match would be shown on a big screen. The men's toilet was as large as a bedroom with very little in it except the toilet itself and a washbasin. The toilet pan kind of looked like it was terrazzo. I've never seen one like it before.  

I had noticed from the coach a disused railway line often running parallel with the road. While it was overgrown, it appeared to be intact and could be used.


What is this thing for?


I have never seen such a thing. I am almost certain it is to pour water into steam train tanks as they pause underneath. I've seen them filled by trackside tanks, but this appears to be mains water supply.


Our next stop was an ostrich farm at the awful to pronounce Oudtshoorn. They are certainly larger than our emus. Various facts about ostrich farming were presented and like the the earlier Aloe, it seemed there wasn't much that eating or applying ostrich can't fix. Ostrich like to have their long and perpendicular neck stroked, and of course there is always one in the crowd that will take things too far, but it did get a laugh. Yes, think the worst.



What do we do now? We cover the birds eyes and jump on its back.


The eyes are uncovered and off we go for a ride. There was a 75 kilo weight limit, so that is my reason for not riding one, believe me or not.




Young ostrich are terribly cute.



Nevertheless, we had no compunction about eating ostrich steaks at the provided and very nice lunch. The steaks were ok but I won't go back for more. This is the youngest ostrich to hatch.


Our next stop was Kantor Caves.


There were some old photos made into murals. There is always one who stands out in a crowd. I've seen this in old photos before. Is he gay? Is he just pushy? Is he just a poser? I don't know.


You must admit, it is quite a pose.


A bit of a cave and cavern thing on the outside.


The interior of the caves were amazing. The best European painter could not have done better than what we saw. We took a one hour tour and the guide, as all had been, was terrific. He even sang for us and his voice was strong and and highlighted the acoustics. So good that before the South African World Cup that the floor of  large chamber cave was concreted over and made level, well maybe not. Seating was added and there were operatic and other performances, until it was realised that vandalism was happening, drunken shenanigans behind stalactites, and other cave destroying stuff.






Truly amazing that one wall of the cave used to played as a drum, until it broke. We were given a brief demonstration of the drum effect of the remaining part and it was incredible to hear. Just like a real skinned drum.



The shadows are long and it is time to leave. Something went terribly wrong at our hotel for the night, so instead of a 5.30 start the next day, we journeyed on to the town of George, a long drive, but the accommodation was good and we did not have to be on the coach until 8.30 to get to George Airport to fly to Johannesburg.


Later note: I took photos in the cave with my camera and my phone. The camera failed miserably and I think my phone did pretty damn well. 

26 comments:

  1. What an amazing time! I've seen Ostriches and thought them exceedingly cute. I am not sure I could eat one.
    I am really enjoying your trip! So glad you and R. took it!
    Looking forward to more!

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    1. Maribeth, thanks. I am not a committed ostrich meat eater.

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  2. If you can eat chicken, you can eat ostrich...

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    1. Whimsy, whatever you may think about the foolishness of not eating animals that look cute, ostrich tastes very different to chicken, and I didn't really like the taste and so I will stick with chicken.

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  3. Cover the head and hop on the Ostrich, oh gosh what fun that would have been when I was younger.
    Nice collection of photos.
    Pity about the vandals in the cave, no respect it seems.

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    1. Margaret, you know what it is like. A few too many drinks and what fun to put my name here. I think people used to rid ostrich in Africa like people rode horses years ago, to get somewhere.

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  4. I love lighthouses, especially if they and their surrounding buildings have been kept in good condition. Does Cape St Francis Lighthouse have all its workings inside, to show today's travellers?

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    1. Hels, we were too early, but yes the lighthouse is open and has a museum. There is a photo on Wikipedia of the lighthouse before the buildings were all renovated.

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  5. Those caves are amazing! I would have loved to hear the drum one. I wouldn't ride an ostrich either, in case it ran away with me and I couldn't stop him or get off. Plus I'm just at the weight limit so wouldn't want to hurt him.
    That railway contraption is definitely for water supply, I'd say. I've seen similar ones years ago in Port Pirie.

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    1. River, I have seen a few caves, but these were truly spectacular. Ostrich seem to be a wild animal to ride, but perhaps that was because of the strange captivity and they were not tamed to one person. Thanks for the info about the trains.

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  6. I never been in cave and want to experince it.
    Coffee is on

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    1. Dora, you should visit a cave, but it might be hard find one as spectacular.

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  7. Beautiful cave. That railways track looks very narrow gauge; the gantry must have been for water.

    What a trip you had. Ostrich riding? Luckily I'm over the weight limit too!

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    1. Cro, even I thought it looked very narrow gauge for a narrow gauge. I will check up on that. Gantry! Why didn't I use that word. Like me, I am sure are only borderline over the limit.

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  8. The caves are beautiful. Not sure I would want to ride an Ostrich

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    1. Diane, I was shocked by the beauty of the caves. I have seen caves in NSW and Victoria and elsewhere, but never any quite so stunning.

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  9. I would have loved to ride on an ostrich ! I rode on a camel, but never on a horse ! These caves are amazing, such beautiful sculptures made by nature !

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    1. Gattina riding an ostrich. I would love to see that. The caves were like a beautiful work of art, perhaps not bettered by any artist.

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  10. I remember visiting Oudtshoorn ostrich farm, but was scared to ride an ostrich then in case it threw me down. I'm not very brave...
    Can't remember seeing the caves before, but they are amazing, and your phone photos are pretty good Andrew.

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    1. Sami, yes, it would not be my thing either. They are the most impressive caves I have ever been in.

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  11. Gorgeous!! Thanx For Sharing All Of These Photos!! Well Done

    Cheers

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  12. There is so much in this post that made me laugh out loud, it's too late to mention them all but ... some of your group rode the ostriches then ate ostrich steaks, hilarious, not for the ostrich mind you 😀😀😊 Your phone did a brilliant job of the cave photos, I guess you might have had something to do with it too 😉

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    1. Grace, and cuddled the chicks too. Thanks.

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  13. Wow, its beautiful in that cave. Well he could be a male model today, but probably not so many prospects then. Nice pose though.

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    1. Strayer, looks very ghey to me.

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