Meerkat Magic was a DSTV program which sparked our interest in visiting Oudtshoorn. Our pre-tour research revealed that there were two persons involved in Meerkat conservation. Further study showed that only one of the two was reliable. The Meerkat Adventures tour lasts 3 hours, starting before sunrise, so we built our tour around this. Our first day saw us heading for Mossel Bay where we checked into The Eight Bells Mountain Inn, for 2 nights. We had heard many glowing reports and read a few complaints about this hotel, but were pleasantly surprised on arrival. Once settled in we explored our surroundings and at 4pm were summoned to the lounge by a bell being rung, announcing tea time.
Pre dinner drinks in the lounge at 6.30 pm was followed by a sumptuous 3 course meal.
Day two dawned with heavy mist enshrouding the hotel and breakfast provided the fuel to get our bodies moving again, this time direction George for a visit to the Railway Museum, home of the Outeniqua Power Van. The stunning beauty of the Outeniqua Mountains unfolds as you travel one of South Africa’s most scenic routes, experiencing the forest, four passes, water falls, seven tunnels, fynbos, proteas, bird, animal life and the panoramic picnic site. We managed to view the many vehicles on display in the museum prior to the trip and had a light lunch in a railway carriage on site, and took in the sights of Mossel Bay before returning to Eight Bells.
Day three saw us checking out of Eight Bells after breakfast and on the road to Oudtshoorn and Oue Werf Country House, our home for the next two nights.
A visit to Oudtshoorn is not complete without a visit to an ostrich farm. We chose to visit Safari Ostrich Farm for a guided tour, followed by a light lunch at the George Hotel in central Oudtshoorn. Oue Werf is situated in the countryside, a short drive north of Oudtshoorn. We were warmly welcomed on our arrival and shown to our rooms to settle in prior to a walk to a local winery for wine tasting. Pre dinner drinks were served on the patio followed by dinner in the dining room.
Day four started at 4.15am. We needed to meet the Meerkat Adventures guide along the road by 5.45 am. We drove in misty rain and by the time we reached the site 17km away, it was raining. We sat in the cars waiting for 30 minutes for the rain to stop . Eventually coffee was served and we made our way down to the Meerkat burrows. We waited for some time before one little male popped up to check the weatehr and headed back down into his burrow again! After nearly 2 hours we decided to leave the site and Devey the guide said the weather looked promising for the following day, and only pay if we see Meerkats.
After a hearty breakfast (cold weather increases the appetite!) Brian and Molly headed to the Cango Caves and the rest of us headed into Oudtshoorn for retail therapy. (Don’t you have shops in Cape Town, Girls??!!). On our return to our guest house Molly sat watching a film crew who had chosen Oue Werf for a photo shoot. The Australian Master Chef was visiting the area and cooked a fritata at our guest house. Dinner was, once again, at Oue Werf. Today being our final day, was also an early start! Back to the Meerkats – however, this time totally clear skies and a glorious sunrise had us all very happy. We didn’t have to wait long before the Meerkats appeared. What fun to sit in the bush watching their early morning antics. It’s an experience you won’t easily forget. We were fortunate to see the entire family appear- stretching, yawning and foraging! A fabulous treat. A good breakfast and last minute packing and by 10.00 am we were ready to ‘get-on-the-road’ again. Several stops to gather local produce and we were ready to enjoy lunch at Joubert Tradauw. Their setting is perfect in the vineyards, but, unfortunately, their service doesn’t match the surroundings. Nearly an hour and a half later we could eventually get back on the road home.
All in all a fabulous time away – shared with very enthusiastic people – we had such fun – Thank You one and all who shared this tour with us!