Addo to Oudtshoorn
After a fantastic few days in Addo it was time to head back to Cape Town, this time via the scenic Route 62 (R62) but we had one last stop on the roadtrip, Oudtshoorn. You may be asking yourself what there is to see and do in Oudtshoorn.
Probably the most well-known attraction just outside the town of Oudtshoorn is the Cango Caves where you have the option of a standard or adventure tour to explore this incredible cave system. As long as you aren’t claustrophobic I would highly recommend the adventure tour as you get to see a lot more of the cave system. While the caves are impressive the place we visited next was turned out to be Oudtshoorn best kept secret…With a picnic lunch we made our way to the Rust-en-Vrede waterfall, a few kilometres off the road, on the way back into Oudtshoorn from the caves. At the entrance gate you have to pay a small entrance fee per vehicle, which goes towards conservation, and then after a few kilometres the road comes to an end and a path leads you the rest of the way to the Rust-en-Vrede Waterfall.
Taking its name from the Afrikaans expression meaning “rest and peace” this waterfall was just that and thanks to being out of season we had it all to ourselves although the water was far too cold for me to brave a swim.
After a relaxing picnic and a bit of photography experimentation on my part we made our way to the other well-known attraction in Oudtshoorn, the Cango Wildlife Ranch. I had heard lots of good things about this wildlife sanctuary and it didn’t disappoint. We saw a lot of wildlife in Addo Elephant National Park but there were a few that we hadn’t seen that we now got the chance to see up close.
As we waited for the guided tour to start we took a walk through the reptile enclosure and got to see lots of snakes that were all more active than snakes I’ve seen before like this green mamba that clearly had his eye on my Canon 5D.
The tour starts with the valley of the ancients filled with a variety of wondrous animals from large bats to the tiny blue duiker and a group of endangered Cape vultures that have a wingspan of up to 2.5 metres.
It was the big cats enclosure that I was most excited about. They have serval, lion, leopard, Bengal tigers and cheetah. I was most excited about the cheetah because they also offer the opportunity to stroke and pat the cheetah.
This was Luigi who was all to happy to be scratched behind his ear, purring away. Having photographed these incredible animals in the Kgalagadi several times over the last year and a half it was quite surreal for me to be able to kneel down next to one and stroke it as if it was a pet.
Despite how tame they might appear, looking into their eyes, you can still sense a wildness and that predatory instinct.
I discovered that there is more to Oudtshoorn than just the Cango Caves so the next time you pass through visit one of these other attractions for some ‘rest and peace’ or to get your wild animal fix.