Have You Ever Wanted to Ride an Ostrich?

Riding an ostrich is a bit of a balancing act

My son had seen the movie "BLENDED", and that was the extent of his knowledge about Africa before we left.  He thought it was going to be a big party of dancing men, singing, wild animals, and a luxury resort.  There were a few things in the movie that he absolutely wanted to do, and at the top of the list was ostrich riding.  If you haven't seen the movie yet, it's set at a resort in South Africa.  I wasn't so sure we'd be able to find ostriches in Kenya, but we did!

The Maasai Ostrich Resort was about a 40 minute drive from Nairobi. Half the adventure was getting there!  You'll leave the main road and the find your way becomes just a dirt path with huge ruts. It really requires a durable vehicle.  Maasai people walk by.  Zebras and cows wander freely and create road blocks at will.  The windows had to be rolled up for all the dust. We missed the first sign post and ended up taking an additional 7 km to find the entrance which was a gate with a guard.
A herd of cows in front of our vehicle

It's not just ostrich riding you can do here.  It's a very nice hotel with modern rooms.  They give tours of the actual farm.  School groups come to use the pool, ride horses, and eat lunch outdoors under the shade trees.  The landscape resembles a botanic garden.  All of the staff live here because it is so far from everything. We were impressed.  It was also pretty cheap to try any of the activities.  We planned it so we could have lunch there too and ostrich was on the menu in many forms.  They also had pizza and fries for the kids. While you wait for your lunch you can wander the grounds and try to find cats.  They seemed to be hiding under every table and tree but were not tame enough to pet.  That didn't stop most of the kids from trying to catch them.
The resort is all about peace and quiet in a beautiful setting

At my adult weight of 175 pounds, I thought riding an ostrich was out of my league.  The ostrich keepers assured me they could handle it, so I tried it, but only after watching about 10 kids before me and seeing they smiled.  Well, some of them smiled.  There were a few screamers in the crowd too, and one totally broke out in tears.  It's not like a horse.  There are only 2 legs supporting the ostrich and the rider.  It has a saddle over its back.  A trainer/keeper stays with you around the rink to be sure you're staying on and doing well.  The farm has 2 ostriches that give rides, but one of the keepers said they plan to get a couple of carts so they can do cart racing in the future.  There are two varieties of ostriches here- Maasai and Somali.  You can tell the Maasai by the red legs.  They can live for 50 years, but the ones they use for riding are about 18 years, if I remember correctly.  The ostriches they sell for meat to upscale hotels are about 18 months.
Even adults can ride

One of the Maasai ostriches.  They have Somali ostriches too.
We did the farm tour where we met a guide who had us sanitize our feet before heading into the area where they raise ostriches.  There were expansive vegetable gardens outside of the pens where they grow products used in the restaurant. We walked past pens of babies, saw some adults, held an ostrich egg, and ended up by the ostrich we had been riding.  We really saw it all...even a couple of adults mating which my son explained to me as ostriches dancing.
Sanitizing our feet

Look at the size of that egg!  It was very heavy!

The guide helped Omar pick grass to fee the ostrich
Overall it was a great day.  If you like peace and quiet, I'd recommend a night at the hotel for under $100 which includes some meals. The ostriches are fun to watch and ride, but that only takes up a small portion of your day. Be sure to bring a book if you plan to stay and find a rugged vehicle.  I would love to go back again.


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