I saw only one ostrich when I took this photograph near the Cape of Good Hope on the Cape Peninsula of South Africa in January 2013. The ostrich is the largest bird in the world. How did I miss the other ones when I was taking the photo? Maybe because I ran back to the car as soon as I clicked the shutter a few times! Do you see the beak on that bird in front? He looks mad! (My companions took photos, too. I wonder how many ostriches were in their photos.)
I knew not to get close to this irascible bird. I was nearly pecked in the face by an ostrich in a zoo. He came to the fence where I stood. He looked me in the eye and then attacked. (He had big, beautiful brown eyes.) Thankfully, the fence stopped him from making contact with my face.
The ostriches in my photo were well disguised while sitting in the fynbos (fine bush) vegetation, which includes proteas, heath and reeds. The Cape of Good Hope is part of the Cape Floristic Kingdom, the smallest but richest of the world’s six floral kingdoms, which includes 1,100 species of indigenous plants, many of which only occur naturally in the Cape area. There is also a lot of wildlife in the area, including baboons and antelope. Several species of whales can be spotted offshore, although we had missed the season, which is June to November.
Before visiting the Cape, I didn’t know much more about the area than the names of some European explorers, such as Bartholomeu Dias, who first rounded the Cape in 1488. The Cape of Good Hope marks the point where a ship from Europe, following the western African coastline, begins to travel more eastward than southward. Portugal’s King John II named this area “Cape of Good Hope.” Bartholomeu Dias first named it the “Cape of Storms” in 1488 (it is very windy here). In 1580 Sir Francis Drake who called it the “The Fairest Cape in all the World.”
The Cape Peninsula is a fascinating place. Cape of Good Hope.
Check this out! Panoramic View of the Cape of Good Hope