South African Road Trip – Ostrich farms and shark cage diving
Place: Oudtshoorn – Barrydale Accomodation: Karoo Art Hotel Time Spent: 1 night
From Wilderness we headed inland into the desert of little Karoo. The drive up over into the dessert was absolutely breathtaking. Our first stop was Oudtshoorn which became very wealthy in the late 1800’s to early 1900s due to the sale of Ostrich feathers. Today the demand for Ostrich feathers isn’t that high, however Ostrich farms and farm tours bring in a lot of tourists.
We decided to do a tour of Highgate Ostrich Farm. There is some deep gravel around the farm so it was a little difficult to get around. Part of the tour also included a trip around the farm on a little tractor. There was a platform to get into the tractor however, it did involve some steps. I have been told that Cango Ostrich Farm is fully accessible and the tour involves a short flat walk around the farm.
The other main tourist attraction is the Cango Caves. However I called up and was told they are in no way accessible, not even for the adventurous – so we gave them a miss.
We then started on the infamous route 62, said to be South Africa’s version of Route 66. The road travels through some very scenic mountain passes and dessert with a few quirky stops/ towns along the way.
We stopped for the night at Barrydale, a little town home to many tree changers and artists. we stayed at the Karoo art hotel which is not accessible but very very eccentric.
Place: Hermanaus – Swellendam – Pringle Bay Accomodation: Pringle Bay Time Spent: 1 night
Another beautiful drive up out of the dessert through the mountains stopping at the cute little town of Swellendham before joining the coast again at Hermanus. Hermanus is a favourite holiday destination for people from Cape Town, however it is also where all the shark diving takes place. Although I didn’t do any shark diving on this trip I have done Shark Diving previously. I used a company called Shark Zone just out of Hermanus in a place called Gaansbai. They also do tours that run out of Cape Town, but in winter only. They very helpful and made everything really easy. There was a bit of a step to get into the boat but I was just carried up. Once on the boat I couldn’t really move around much. To get into the shark cage I just shuffled across and transferred into the cage. Once in the cage most people stand, I can stand a little bit in water but mostly I just let my legs float. The only issue is that I don’t have a great understanding of where my legs are in space and at one stage I looked down and my legs had floated out the bars which was very terrifying. From then on my brother kept a hand on my legs to avoid further floating. Therefore I would recommend bringing an able bodied person along as well.
Unfortunately on the day we went the water was really cold and the Sharks were not very active. However it was still amazing and highly recommended.
After spending a night at Pringle Bay at a family friends we then had a beautiful drive along the coast into Cape Town. Up next ….. Accessible things to do in Cape Town