Included in the admission price to Monkeyland, and right next door, is an opportunity for watching the Birds of Eden. Now I like to watch birds but I don’t consider myself a birder even though my birder friends think I am. Yet they are so colorful and different than what I’m used to seeing.
This amazing place houses over 3500 birds and 220 species under an almost 5 acre (2 hectare) domed sanctuary. The inhabitants of the aviary comprise a mixture of exotic as well African birds.
According to Birds of Eden, “All new arrivals go through a process of rehabilitation before they enter the actual sanctuary of the main aviary. Be they ex pets, or birds confiscated from zoos or irreputable breeders, most of the birds that arrive at Birds of Eden have a history of being caged in small environments.”
You’d never know there is a huge net over the entire place because the vegetation is lush.
The path begins by entering into a dim and dense indigenous forest, a winding way on boardwalk over the ground dwellers and through the trees then up into the canopy where the sun pours through.
The Golden Pheasant strutted everywhere yet had the habit of sliding behind twigs and such. They look so regal I felt honored to walk in their presence.
The tree tops were a flutter but it was difficult to see let along photograph some of the elusive species. I tried so hard to get a good shot of the Knysna Lourie in flight to show the deep red under-wings. It’s a blur. Don’t you just love their clownish face?
Feeding stations offer great places to get a little closer to a few of the species.
And some of the birds are quite friendly probably because they were pets, hand reared and imprinted on people.
The exit from the forest marks the beginning of a completely new habitat of grasslands, marsh and woodlands. And a total change in the birds. (That’s a scarlet ibis not a sacred ibis.)
I so enjoyed this leisurely walk and wanted to sit for a while and just absorb the sounds. But closing time came too quickly. I really need to make more time to slow down when traveling. But of course I now have an excuse to go back.
I visited Birds of Eden and Monkeyland while staying at Wild Spirit Backpackers Lodge in Natures Valley about 15 minutes away. These sanctuaries are along the famous Garden Route on the southern coast of South Africa. There is also a restaurant I didn’t eat at and souvenir shop on the premises. I recommend an early tour at Monkeyland then more leisure hours can be spent watching the Birds of Eden.
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