Anje Rautenbach is a Bay travel writer and a blogger who runs the travel blog, Going Somewhere Slowly. As a solo female traveller she discovers the nooks and crannies of the world in slow motion, fuelled by caffeine and a passion for storytelling
There is more to the ostrich capital of South Africa than just feathers and fame.
If you head a few kilometers West of Oudtshoorn, between the creases of the Swartberg and Outeniqua Mountains, you’ll find De Zeekoe, a working lucerne and guest farm where tranquil sunsets, unrivalled landscapes and adventure beckon you closer the heart of the Little Karoo.
The name De Zeekoe, came from the old Dutch name, Zeekoegat – or hippo waterhole – where the voluptuous water-loving animals used to frolic around the riverbed. But that was centuries ago and, if you turn the clock and fast forward to today, a much smaller animal roam the grounds of the farm, the meerkat, one of South Africa’s small five animals.
A short drive from De Zeekoe Guest Farm brings you to a haven of silence where the early morning cold and dark hours in the Little Karoo greets the day with coffee, homemade rusks and an orange glow on the horizon.
It is quiet; there are no city lights, no traffic and Mother Nature shouts loudly in your ear as you head into the veld on a short walk with Devey Glinister, Oudtshoorn’s meerkat whisperer from Meerkat Adventures.
His knowledge of the area and the meerkats are awe-inspiring and his focus on keeping the experience ethical at all times is moving; this is not the place to touch or feed the meerkat, this is a place to respect and wake up to a colony of meerkats in their natural environment while one hand is cupped around a coffee mug and another holds on to the camera, still and steady, in anticipation.
One after the other, the meerkats peek from their burrows as they seek – stomach first – their spot in the sun. Their eyes glitter in the light as they sway and yawn, back and forth, left and right.
“Their stomach is like a solar panel,” Devey says as camera shutters click away vigorously, “they need to charge themselves with heat before they can start with their day.”
Quietly you sit in your chair in the middle of almost nowhere in the Little Karoo; the meerkat whisperer baffles you with interesting facts, a colony of meerkats wake up in front of you and as the sun rises higher to your left the day starts, on a note higher than any other note.
And one last time, before you head back and leave the veld behind, your finger feels the camera button; you focus on the sun-gazing, pulpit-sitting, caramel coated creature and click.
A few important things to remember
Booking are essential. You can visit Meerkat Adventures for more details. Due to the early start of the tour, it would be best if you can stay over in Oudtshoorn. De Zeekoe Guest Farm offers a variety of accommodation options.
Please keep in mind that meerkats are wild animals; these animals are unfortunately often sold on the black market but should under no circumstance ever be kept as a pet. The only way to enjoy these creatures is in their natural environment.
- See more from Anje at goingsomewhereslowly.com