“ Address: Route 328 / P.O. Box 226 / Oudtshoorn 6620 / South Africa / Tel: +27 044 2726721 „
De Zeekoe Guest farm, Oudtshorn, South Africa
We booked the accommodation through roomsforafrica.com as we did with all our other accommodation for our trip to South Africa. This is an excellent site and covers all of South Africa for accommodation with pictures and details of what is available at each place.
This is a working farm just outside Oudtshorn which has ostriches and seems to have crops as well as a huge area set aside for meerkat conservation.
We had two superior rooms as we were lucky enough to be upgraded from the standard ones we had booked. We had a lovely queen sized bed with silk cushions edged with coloured ostrich feathers. There was a mossie net but I think it was just for decoration as we didn't see any or get bitten. Our room had a shower and roll top bath in the room with a separate toilet. The boys had a twin room with ensuite bathroom which also had a shower and roll top bath. Beautiful Rooibos bath salts, soap, shampoo and body lotion was also provided in big containers that you were requested not to pinch, if you wanted some to take away they were for sale in reception!
The dining and breakfast area over looked the grounds and swimming pool and then the mountains in the distance. Service was excellent and the food was also perfect. We had to pre-order our main course and being in the ostrich capital of the world we all ordered ostrich steak. At the table we were told the starters and they included butternut soup and another soup, smoked salmon with melon which was delicious and not a combination I would have thought of, risotto was also on the menu but we all went for the smoked salmon or soup. The main course was melt in your mouth ostrich steak, local vegetables and a sort of mini donut soaked in cinnamon syrup which sounds very odd but balanced the meal very well. The desserts offered were varied, cheese cake, crumble and then fruit salad and ice cream. The total including beer and wine was 225 ZAR ( 11 ZAR to the £1 when we were there) which we thought was fantastic value for four people and three generous courses plus homemade bread and walnut cheese to keep us going at the start as well.
Breakfast was mainly laid out as a buffet with fruit, cereal, homemade bread and cheese, jams and toast and then a full cooked breakfast if you wanted it was part of the deal. We paid 900 ZAR per room including breakfast but that was for a standard room, I'm not sure how much we should have paid for the superior one but it was very luxurious and a perfect place for a romantic getaway.
The pool was quite a decent size with about 10 sun loungers around it. As we were sitting reading by the pool one of the members of staff came over and brought us a tray of glasses and ice cold water with a slice of lemon in it which was just what we needed after our ostrich riding and long drive that day to get to Oudtshorn from Cape Town.
One of the extras that are offered at this guest house was a chance to see meerkats in the wild. When we had seen it on the internet it was about £250 so we had decided not to bother. However, when we arrived at reception I saw that the price was 450 ZAR which was under £45 so we thought again. The boys decided that 5.30 am was too early to get up so my husband and I went alone. We met up with the guide at the crossroads and another car joined us too. We had to follow the guide to the part of the farm about 7 km away where the meerkats had been seen most recently.
The guide was called Devy and his wife had very kindly sent along coffee, tea and all needed for a wake up hot drink. Devy also bought camp chairs for us to sit on while waiting for the meerkats to emerge from their burrow.
While we waited for the sun to come up and the meerkats to emerge Devy told us al lot about the way meerkats live. He also explained why so many meerkats are being put into sanctuaries. People buy them as pets but after the initial interest of the meerkat as a baby wears off and the meerkats become mature they then begin to do the two things that are instinctive to meerkats one is of which is to dig. They dig anywhere, on sofas, in gardens, on the owner's beds, anywhere they are allowed to roam. The other thing they do instinctively is to spread their scent. Meerkats in a family group scent each other every morning before leaving their burrow. Pet meerkats think of their human family as their group and therefore they mark their scent all around the house and on their humans too. Apparently house cat pee is like Chanel number 5 compared to meerkat wee so you can imagine how enthusiastically this sharing of scent is received by the human family. It is when these two basic instincts start to develop that the human owners decide that a meerkat is not a great pet and put it in the sanctuary at best or just into the wild where off course they do not survive as they have not learned to fend for themselves. Our guide was very unhappy about the new craze for meerkats as pets because they are not domesticated and will never be so but once raised as a pet they can never be released into the wild either.
When the meerkat family emerged from their burrow they sunned themselves with their chests sticking out for a good 15 minutes while we watched them changing position and keeping guard in turn before they went off hunting for food taking turn at sentry duty and leaving one female behind to babysit in the burrow.
It was an amazing experience as they look so cute and the advert for Compare the Market has got the meerkat movement s off just pat. It would have been nice to see the babies but we were a couple of weeks too early however I was very thrilled to be able to see them in the wild. There is no way you would just come upon them as they are really quite small and so well camouflaged that you would drive right passed them without noticing.
So we had a wonderful animal experience in Oudtshorn seeing and riding ostriches and then watching the meerkats wake and sun themselves before going off on their morning hunt. This is something I would thoroughly recommend if you ever get to South Africa it is worth making the effort to get to Oudtshorn.
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