Sunday, January 20, 2013

Exploring Inverdoorn Game Reserve

Safari Awaiting for Us!
After Oudtshoorn, we had to embark on a 5h driving trip towards Ceres, where Inverdoorn Game Reserve is nearly located. The journey though long, it was enjoyable with a lot of wildlife sightings such as baboons and antelopes, snakes and tortoises..tortoises practically run I think over there..their speed was much faster than we thought..

De Denne had very nicely packed our breakfast that morning..which was extremely sumptious...really had a good time at De Denne guesthouse..and we set off happily..We were filled with excitement upon reaching this was our first safari experience on a land rover driven by a game ranger.


inverdoorn Luxury Chalet



Wine for Celebrations!

After checking in and exploring our luxury chalet, which was the best accomodation we stayed thus far, we went to have lunch.. how the game reserve works is actually caters for day visits for people in Cape Town, providing transport to and fro from the Game Reserve(located 2.5h away from Cape Town by driving) to your hotel in Cape Town, if you dont wish to stay overnight in the game reserve..(but I highly recommend you do so as you will enjoy the tasty meals..the sunrise and sunset game drives..and of cuz the starry starry night filled with a blanket of stars...)


Starry Starry Night
Inverdoorn Chalets


Looking Forward
Our visit to Inverdoorn included 2 night stay at one of their 5 luxury chalets, all breakfast, lunch and dinner included..4 game drives in total..I must say that at least 4 game drives are necessary to spot the animals at the game wont be able to see everything on a single game drive unless you are very lucky..some animals are more active in the morning while others just keep the lion in the morning..

Spotted the African Elephant
At dinner
Each game drive lasted for 3 hours and we were brought around by an experienced game ranger..Our game ranger was very spontaneous and knowledgeable..He filled us up with lotsa information on the Big Five(lion, rhinocerous, african elephant, hippotamus) and other animals(antelopes, giraffes, zebras, elands, bonteboks,cheetah) we saw along the way..drove in a safe way although the route was still very bumpy..and had been very humourous throughout the trip..Below are the various animals we have give us a great and total experience to be in Africa..

Osama our game ranger
African Elephant
Cheetah speed
One on One
Tortoise(crawls quickly!)
I hope in future we will have the opportunity to visit Kruger National Park for more wildlife experience..have heard so many raving reviews of Kruger..unfortunately it's nt a good time to visit Kruger when we were there as temperatures may soar to 40C and above during summer time to visit is during their winter season when the vegetation is sparse and animals can be easily spotted.


Love the Safari Experience!

Exploring Oudtshoorn and Nearby

Country Road...

We hit the roads at 9am today after breakfast and saying farewell to Karin and dogs..After getting the car refueled and making sure the car is in great condition, we set off for Oudtshoorn...the ostrich capital in Africa..

Ostrich Capital!
Oudtshoorn is a town in Western Cape.. located along the Garden Route and is accessible by the famous Route 62.. The journey for us this time was smooth fortunately although we did travel on gravel roads on some instances. The scenery towards Oudtshoorn was wonder Route 62 is popular with tourists!


We were lost in finding for De Denne Guesthouse..our GPS gave us wrong information as it cannot pinpoint the exact location of De Denne after we keyed in the GPS coordinates..GPS brought us to a super secluded place that just dont look right! De Denne is in fact 15min away from the Oudtshoorn main town area..and to our relief, we found it located next to HighGate ostrich farm..

We were very happy to arrive at De Denne.. It has the airconditioning we were craving in a hot day of 38C that day!...and the whole cottage looks extremely clean and spacious and comfortable for a great sleep after on the roads for few hours.. We met up with Johan, the owner..He's very knowledgeable and we took up his suggestion to have an ostrich meat dinner on the day of arrival..Johan is extremely capable..he's the boss, he's the chef...he knows astronomy, taught us about Sirius, Jupiter on one starry night..and I think he belongs to the Keller family in owning huge ostrich farms..Also..Johan did us a great favor..we had a lot of laundry to wash and we're so glad Johan allowed us to wash our stuff at De Denne at a minimal cost..Johan has a huge dog named Bruno..and because of the hot weather, Bruno wanted so much to enter our room as it was airconditioned! We had a great time relaxing at the swimming pool and playing the swing at De Denne while waiting for our sumptious ostrich meal..I must say the ostrich meal exceeded expectations..very nice experience!

At De Denne Guesthouse
Ostrich Steak
Coconut pie and icecream
sunset at Oudtshoorn
With the attractions that we've been to as mentioned below, I think Oudtshoorn is definitely worth know everything about ostrich, staying in a farm, and exploring the wonderful scenery surrounding this beautiful town.

1) Cango Caves
A spectacular work of nature..from limestone..located along the route towards Swatsberg Pass..We spent about an hour with the guide from the attraction..who brought us around together with a big group for the standard tour..Initially, we wanted to try the Adventure Tour, which would require us to climb through the various natural-made obstacles in the caves for 1.5h..but we were not in the right attire and decided to go for the easy way out instead. Anyway, the standard tour was interesting we awed at the magnificent structures formed in a nature's way..

Cango Caves
2)Swatsberg Mountain Pass
This mountain pass is definitely a must go..but I will recommend to go on a bright sunny day, no rain, not cloudy, not foggy day. We went up on a cloudy day and faced visibility of less than 5m when at the top of the mountain. The view was still spectacular. And almost as if heaven knows we were kinda worried while travelling this mountain pass, when we were on the other side of the mountain after reaching Prince Albert, all the clouds disappeared and it transformed into a bright sunny day with tiny wisps of clouds! The scenery was breathtaking with all the majestic wildlife was seen..but the mountain view, the valleys..and even waterfall..were very impressive!


Chinese Fondue/Steamboat
Steamboat for Xmas

 The round trip from Oudsthoorn to Swatsberg and back to Oudtshoorn via Meiringspoort takes us near 5h, with a stop over at Prince Albert for lunch on Christmas day..most shops were closed..except for one to our delight..their xmas menu was was Chinese Fondue..we absolutely had no idea what was that until it came upon us that this meant steamboat! english terms..when they started bringing a hot pot of chicken soup , raw chicken meat, and some veggies out.. a steamboat in South Africa on Xmas day was not expected at all!...something to remember indeed.. The Meiringspoort was a definite attraction as the cliff walls lined the roads neatly and it's a luxury to just stop the car and appreciate the beauty for a few moments.



3)Ostrich Farm Tour
Oudtshoorn is like the ostrich capital of South it makes sense to join an ostrich farm tour and learn everything about ostriches! We participated in one that brought us through the life cycle of an ostrich and understand the anatomy of this amazing bird..who thus far bear the largest egg on earth..the ostrich egg.. The guide was very comprehensive in flooding us with information of ostrich, their young, the females and males, and he described how each part of ostrich was made to good use, be it ostrich leather handbags, ostrich-made jewellery from the egg shell, or feather dusters from different parts of the ostrich body. It was an eye opening experience to see the baby ostrich crack through the egg shell that day..we were lucky to see that in fact!..This tour was arranged by De their family's ostrich farm located at Mooiplaas..

Hatching in process
Feather dusters
With the ostriches

Other wildlife spotted
4)Going to Kalinska for dinner..
We visited this restaurant for dinner on our last night at was recommended by Reveplanner and many other good reviews at Tripadvisor..We didnt make any prior bookings and it was Christmas Eve..lucky us that we got seats..and enjoyed a..rather interesting and tasty dinner..Dear had some bobotie..while I had the usual pasta..which turned out to have a unique taste!..Service was prompt and excellent..worth to go!




Ostriches in Sunset
I guess the pictures were convincing enough to push you to visit Oudtshoorn.There are of course more attractions than what I have mentioned just a matter of the time and weather..On the day of leaving Oudtshoorn, we bought some decorated ostrich egg shells back home at a very reasonable price, as compared to the cities like Cape Town and those other tourist attractions. Prices at these places were near to twice as much as what we paid at Oudtshoorn. This is kind of expected though..regardless, we had a lot of fun star gazing at De Denne, watching the dramatic sunset and cloudy days..and most importantly, get back to nature..before we geared up for the next 5h drive to Ceres, where the Inverdoorn Game Reserve is located at!

Moon and Star
Weather change
Lovely Sunset in our Memories!