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The Albin/Juliars in South Africa

Down on the Farm

You can't go to South Africa without paying a visit to an ostrich farm. And, if you are up to it, sitting down on one of the birds and taking a ride. This farm was in the ostrich center of the world, at Oudtshoorn, a fair-sized town in a hot, semiarid area several hundred kilometers to the east of Cape Town. It is odd, at first, driving through the countryside and seeing pastures with grazing sheep and goats and then these feathered, two-legged, long-necked creatures.

Click on a picture to see it full-sized.

A real, live ostrich, in the feather, so to speak. It's relatively tame and, we were told, won't kick us. It didn't.


Yes, that's a bag on the bird's head. And that's how you keep it calm enough to climb onto its back. Apparently, the bird is so stupid (you've never seen one in a circus, have you?) that if it doesn't see a problem, it doesn't have one. But no, they don't bury their heads in sand.

Noah decided that he would mount an ostrich. But that's all. No riding, no galloping, no trotting.


Michael decided that he would mount an ostrich. And ride it.

The men assisting are called (yes, you guessed it!) jockeys.

He's on! And he's off, for a ride.


Michael coming around the clubhouse turn. Eventually, he didn't place.

Some farms have ostrich races. This one doesn't. Races wear the birds out and they die young. Michael is on only for a quick ride.

Patricia, Patrick McLaren's older daughter, fed a few of the critters. She wasn't quite sure what was going on over her head.

The farm called this one Linda.

© 2001 by Michael Juliar. All rights reserved.
Last updated: 15-May-2001