Knysna Week 3 & 4
The start of our third week began with a visit to Sunday church.We decided to try a new location, not necessarily because we didn't like the Island church we attended the previous week, but because we all slept in a little late to make the 9 o'clock service.The Vineyard Church of Knysna, which by the way we would recommend to anyone visiting the area, started at 9:30 am.This happened to be one of our few remaining nice days and luckily we took advantage of it and headed to the beach after church.We spent most of the afternoon lying around reading books, playing cards and building sand castles with the kids.
Emma had a play date with her new friend Gaby and that evening we all met over at Ron and Toy's, Gaby's grandparents.We had some wine and snacks and visited with them.It was a great time.Luckily, they mentioned there was going to be a planned power outage for the following Sunday.Since we had never experienced anything like this we didn't know what to expect.However, we were graciously invited to have what is called a Potjiekos which is pronounced "Poikey," at Gaby's parent's house the Sunday of the power outage.The Potjiekos is typically made with layers of venison and other meat and vegetables cooked in a small black pot over a bed of coals.It is more or less a stew for you folk back home.It was delicious! We had a beautiful afternoon exchanging cultural nuances and tasting the fine beer and wines of South Africa with Ron & Toy, Gaby's parents James & Nikki, and Claudette and her husband "Hinny", friends of James and Nikki.The day before, we visited Monkeyland in Pettenbergbay to celebrate Emma's eighth birthday. Birds of Eden, next to Monkeyland, is also a good place to visit.We thought it was pretty expensive and Emma and Sam didn't seem too interested, so we skipped it.Later that day Gaby came over and we celebrated Emma's birthday with cake and ice cream.
Another place, which Susan and I had come across in an Africa book we checked out at the library, was Oudtshroon.It is located in what is called the "Little or Klein Karoo" which is a long valley bordered by the Swartberg and Langeberg Mountain in the Western Cape.We had read Oudtshroon is the Ostrich capital of the world and you could definitely tell why when you enter the city.I've never seen so many ostriches in my life!We first visited the Cango Wildlife Ranch and took their little guided tour.It was nice to see different species which we really don't see in our zoos, but it was more or less just a zoo.The kids enjoyed it but I don't know that I would recommend it to anyone without children. The second place on our list was an actual Ostrich Farm.It was called, not surprisingly, the Cango Ostrich Farm. We had planned ahead and packed a small lunch for ourselves.We couldn't really find a great place to sit down and eat so we just ate in the parking lot of the Ostrich Farm prior to entering.Even though we didn't find an interesting place to eat the parking lot actually turned out to be a spectacle of sorts.Susan noticed while looking out her side window an older lady whaling her arms up and down as if she was hitting something below her.After closer examination she was hitting something alright and it happened to be another women sitting on the ground taking the beating.Not only was this older women hitting her but a small child joined in on the beating shortly thereafter.It seems, after speaking to several other Africans that it is not uncommon for this to occur.Anyway it made things a bit more interesting while we enjoyed our lunch.After lunch we toured the Ostrich farm and learned the breeding techniques they use, their feeding habits, and how to actually ride one.All in all it was worth the visit and I would suggest a day trip the farm if you are in the area.Our last site for the day and the one I looked forward to the most were the Cango Caves.The caves were believed to be occupied during the early stone ages by the Khoisans.However, the humans that occupied this cave originally only habituated in the front part of the caves.They never explored the remaining part probably due to the fact there was very little light.However, the guide indicated they didn't go back into the rest of the cave because they believed it was inhabited by their ancestors.Anyway, the magnitude of stalactites and stalagmites was really an amazing spectacle to see.You can read more about the history of these caves at http://www.cangocaves.co.za/history.php.After leaving the caves it was dinner time and we wanted to find a nice place to eat in the area before heading back on our one hour drive to Knysna.We had seen several along the way but wanted to get a locals opinion.After stopping and asking a few Ostrich farmers they suggested a place called De Oude Meul restaurant.This is also a country lodge and if you plan to stay in Oudtshroon it seems to be a great choice.Here is their website to see what they have to offer http://www.deoudemeul.co.za/. I have to say it was a great recommendation.The setting was serene and the food was incredible. I decided since I was in the ostrich capital of the world I needed to try a little ostrich.I order an ostrich filet medium rare based in wine sauce with a side of mixed vegetables.The vegetables were sub-par but the Ostrich was quite tasty.Susan ordered a breaded Kudu filet.Kudu's are in the antelope family.It reminded me of a chicken fried steak from back home.
The last night we were in Knysna, we invited our new friends and wonderful hosts to dinner.They were reluctant to let us treat them, but we didn't give them a choice.We had such a wonderful time.Schalk and his fiancé, Ron and Toy, Ray, James and Nikki along with Gaby and of course our kiddos sat and laughed and talked for many hours.We are truly grateful to all of these guys and, I say this with respect, I think Ron was a little worried about us driving through the Transkei, with roaming farm animals and dangerous drivers.He even called us on our way across the Western/Eastern Cape to check on us.It was so nice that he really cared about our well being.