I must admit, riding an ostrich in South Africa wasn’t high on my “to do list” but as it turned out, we had a blast!

ostrich south africa

Our tour started off amazingly well at the Cango Ostrich farm.  It was just Dave and I and another guy from the US. We were feeling good that we’d have plenty of time to take photos and video of these long legged feathered friends. Our guide started to talk to us about raising ostrich and how valuable their leather, feathers and eggs were. It was an interesting introduction as we sat in the air conditioned presentation room.

And then in happened.

ostrich tour south africa

A large tour group joins us

A tour group of 14 people from the States (and one Canadian) came into join us. You have got to be kidding me! We had a tour booked for 10:30 am, sat around waiting until 11:00 am and then 10 minutes into our tour, this mammoth package tour joins us mucking up the place with laughter! (no laughter allowed I say, this is serious ostrich business ;-)

guide at ostrich farm

Our fantastic guide tells us about the ostrich

Our guide was fantastic though. He saw the look of disgust on my face and seemed to take pity on my frustration. He even seemed to be annoyed when the front desk opened the door to let this group in part way through our session. So I felt a bit of a connection with him.

ostrich eating out of tourists hand

Got him eating out of my hands

When we went outside to see the birds, he let me have the first look at everything and let me go first when it came to having the ostrich eat out of my hand and he let me go first when it came time to ride! When Dave’s video jammed and we didn’t get the take, he let me jump on again! I loved this guy. He didn’t know that we were bloggers, he didn’t know that we were with South Africa Tourism, he only knew that I was looking to have the best experience possible.

the Ostrich Ride…

Riding an ostrich in South Africa

Crazy Thrill Ride on an Ostrich

After I said yes, to riding, I actually had second thoughts. Especially when our guide made the disclaimer “If you break your arm, your leg or your neck, we are not responsible.” What was I thinking? Actually, I didn’t have time to think, I was suited up in blue overalls, a put on that bird so quickly, that I didn’t have a chance to take in what was happening.

I didn’t know what to expect.

ostrich ride in south africa

They brought the ostrich into the pen, put a hood over his eyes to calm him down and then set me on top. I was told to hang onto his wings and wrap my fee around his chest. Once I was “sort of” stable, we were off!

 

It was hilarious. I felt completely out of control and just held on for dear life. Thank God the rangers were there to spot me in case I fell off because I was sure I was going to topple over. In the end, I survived and by the time the second ride came around, I was an old pro.

ostrich with rider and rangers

Dave’s Turn with the Ostrich

Dave didn’t get the chance to ride an ostrich because they have strict weight limits. The ostrich is strong, but you can’t be over 65 Kilos. I was annoyed with the guys in the group trying to claim they were under the weight. I’d put a couple of them at 80 kilos at least and here they were trying to say they were ok. Luckily the guide laughed at them and said no.

ostrich Riding south africa-3

Instead of the ride, Dave did have the chance to get an ostrich neck massage. Our guide, seemed to get the sense that we wanted away from this noisy group so he brought us over to the other corrall separately as the rest of the pack took their turns riding the ostrich. He placed a bucket of food in Dave’s hands, stood him by the fence and let the ostrich feast on the pellets. It was the cutest moment.

The Cango Ostrich farm is an interesting experience. We enjoyed visiting the ostrich and doing the activities, but when I thought about it, I realized that all these guys are being farmed. They’re like cattle or pigs. People eat ostrich, they use their feathers for carnivals like Mardi Gras and Rios Carnival, their eggs are used for decoration and their leather is a hot commodity.

I guess the guys that we rode and pet are safe for now as they’re used to being around people.

ostrich farm south africa

Ostrich are strong and deadly. Our guide on our safari told us that the only animal he has truly felt threatened by in all his years of being a ranger was an ostrich.  One kick from an ostrich will kill you and if you find yourself being chased by an ostrich, lay down and give up. An ostrich can reach speeds of 65 km per hour so you’ll never outrun it.  Playing dead is your only chance, but in reality your screwed!

Book your own ostrich tour for R70 ($9 USD) The tour lasts 45 minutes and they happen every 20 minutes throughout the day. Find out more information at the Cango Ostrich Website. 

You may also like

From our partners
Leave a comment

17 Comments

  1. cat

    OH MY GOD! How awesome! Question.. how did the ostrich know when to stop? Did he stop moving long enough for you to hop off or did you have to do a tuck and roll?

    That’s really cool I want to try it.

    Also good for the guides for sticking up for the weight limit! It would be unfair to the ostrich if people just didn’t care. Clearly they care about their animals!

    1. debndave Post author

      Hi Cat, it didn’t know when to stop. It either ran until you fell off or until you jumped off. The first time I went I fell off the back and the last time, I jumped off when he slowed down a bit. I had heard that some people don’t stick to the weight limit, so I was happy to see that our guide laughed at the people trying to say they were 65 kilos when they were clearly about 80. I think it was rude of the tourists to try to sneak in!

    1. debndave Post author

      They can go fast! The first ostrich I rode was much faster than this guy. Something went wrong when Dave was filming so we didn’t capture the footage, but that one was funnier. I didn’t last as long and I fell off instead of jumped off. This ostrich didn’t seem to mind having me on his back, he just kept trotting along.

    1. debndave Post author

      It is zany fun. I was a little nervous because I wondered how I was going to get off if he went crazy, but the wranglers make you feel confident that nothing will happen.

    1. debndave Post author

      I agree Dana, they are cute. They have the largest eyes of any land animal in the world too! you notice that when you are up close with them, they have big wide eyes. There are a lot of ostrich in the wild in Africa, it’s nice to hear that they are one of the few animals not on the endangered list.

  2. Ray

    I actually feel kinda bad for the ostriches having to lug around tourists all day (no offence.) What are the conditions like at the farm?

    1. debndave Post author

      The conditions are quite good. The ostriches have a lot of room to roam. These ostriches are being raised for their leather, meat and feathers and I when think about what our pigs, cattle and chickens go through here in North America, I feel that these ostriches are doing very well. Plus, something tells me that the show ostriches have a good long life. I think they’re the lucky ones at the farm. They have strict rules and weight limits and there are many ostriches in the corral, so it’s not the same ostrich lugging tourists. It’s good to be concerned though

  3. Jade Johnston

    That is incredible! Ok I definitely need to lose this baby weight so that I can ride an ostrich as well!

Comments are closed.