Highgate Ostrich Farm

Highgate Ostrich Show Farm has been telling the fascinating story of ostriches and ostrich farming in Oudtshoorn for over a hundred years.

Grade

Tame

Disabled Friendly

No

Accommodation

Nearby

Team Building Facilities

Yes

Family Friendly

Yes

Highgate Ostrich Show Farm has been telling the fascinating story of ostriches and ostrich farming in Oudtshoorn for over a hundred years, and its tours have delighted visitors from all over the world. Meet ostriches face to face, learn about ostrich farming, and enjoy everyone’s favorite – ostrich races! We are one of the most popular things to do in Oudtshoorn. People describe us as family fun, interesting and informative, great experience, ostriches and more ostriches, and more. OVERVIEW OF OSTRICH TOURS
OUR OSTRICH TOURS WILL DELIGHT AND INFORM YOU – PICK YOUR TOUR BELOW.
Experience the world’s largest bird, the ostrich, which lays the largest egg, has the most beautiful feathers and eyes that make you want to fall in love and hug them.
We offer a variety of ostrich tours. Each tour has 2 parts – the main yard and the farmlands.
? In the main yard, you will be shown different ostrich feathers, the incubators and how they work, gizzard stones, and you can feed the ostriches yourself!
? The farmlands are where you will be shown the anatomy of an ostrich, visit the breeding pairs nest and for the brave, you may even get the chance to ride one!
OSTRICH RACING
The highlight of our tours is when we end off with a traditional ostrich race performed by our professional jockeys. You can take part in our ostrich derby as a spectator along the longest Ostrich race track in the world!
CONCLUDE YOUR TOUR WITH A TRADITIONAL OSTRICH MEAL.
Meals are served in The Pepper Tree Restaurant located in our historic homestead, with magnificent views of the Klein Karoo valley and picturesque Swartberg Mountains.
OSTRICH TOURS ON OFFER
TRADITIONAL OSTRICH TOUR

Duration: 1h 20min

Our Traditional Ostrich Tour is not only enlightening but also fun for the whole family. Learn all about ostriches, feed one by hand, and watch as our staff expertly demonstrate the various crafts using the ostrich’s exquisite feathers, eggs, and leather. Sit on or even ride an ostrich – and enjoy our famous ostrich derby where the local jockeys will entertain you!
You will be in awe of the beauty of your surroundings, with the Klein Karoo valley and the picturesque Swartberg Mountains.

TRADITIONAL OSTRICH TOUR AND CLASSIC MEAL

Full Duration: 2h 20min
Tour duration approx. 1h 20 min
Choose between:-
Tour and Classic Lunch
or
Tour and Classic Dinner (minimum 10 persons)
Our Traditional Ostrich Tour is not only enlightening but also fun for the whole family. Apart from the views, you will be able to see ostriches as you’ve never seen before. When you book this tour we will reserve a table in our restaurant for you.
TRADITIONAL OSTRICH TOUR AND PREMIER MEAL

Full Duration: 2h 20min
Tour duration approx. 1h 20 min
Choose between:-

Tour and Premier Lunch
or
Tour and Premier Dinner (minimum 10 persons)

Our Traditional Ostrich Tour is not only enlightening but also fun for the whole family. Apart from the views, you will be able to see ostriches as you’ve never seen before. When you book this tour we will reserve a table in our restaurant for you.

THE HISTORY OF THE OSTRICH

Approximately 20-60 million years ago, ostriches were found around the Mediterranean Sea in the west, China in the east and Mongolia in the north. Together with many other large mammals, ostriches only migrated south across Africa about a million years ago. It’s a well-documented fact that large ostriches were already roaming the Western Cape at the time of the landing of Jan van Riebeeck in 1652.
Today ostriches prefer open land and are native to the savannahs and Sahel of Africa, both north and south of the equatorial forest zone. In Southwest Africa, they inhabit the semi-desert or true desert. They rarely go above 100m. Farmed ostriches in Australia have established feral populations. The Arabian Ostriches in the Near and Middle East were hunted to extinction by the middle of the 20th century. Ostriches have occasionally been seen inhabiting islands on the Dahlak Archipelago, in the Red Sea near Eritrea.
BOOM, SLUMPS & CRASHES

Like any other industry, the ostrich feather industry had its boom years, slumps and crashes.
The first ostrich feather boom was between 1875 and 1880 where ostrich prices reached up to GBP 1000 a pair.
These feathers had become very popular in the fashion industry in Europe. The farmers over-produced, and then there was a sudden slump in 1885, which was compounded with a horrific flood that same year. The ostrich industry slowly recovered and only after the Second Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, was there a second and bigger boom for the ostrich industry.
This boom ended in 1913 and crashed in 1914, and was blamed on Henry Ford and the arrival of the motor car. The dilemma the feather industry had, was that women weren’t able to wear their elaborate feather headdresses when they drove in cars without roofs, so the stylish hats for women became irrelevant.
FASHION

Ostrich feathers have been a sought-after fashion article since medieval times. Queen Elizabeth I of England and the French queen, Marie Antoinette, were famous for their partiality to them. Royalty used the ostrich feathers in their elaborate headdresses, and later, ladies presented at court in England were expected to feature the plumes as their formal headdress.
The ostrich feather was regarded as a symbol of truth and justice by the Egyptians, because – unlike other feathers – they are beautifully balanced as they are divided exactly in half by their central shaft.

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