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Visiting the Birds of Eden Sanctuary in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

A fabulous Scarlet Ibis

A fabulous Scarlet Ibis at Birds of Eden Sanctuary

Prior to today, I can say with 100% honesty that I had as much interest in birds as I did in filing my tax return.  None.  So what a surprise it was to absolutely love my visit to the Birds of Eden Sanctuary, the biggest free flight aviary in the world and home to 220 species of birds.  The setting is an all-natural forested ravine.

About half of the birds in the sanctuary are native to Africa.  The others are exotics from all over the world that have been rescued from the pet trade or similar poor conditions and rehabilitated.

Hilariously for us, a guinea foul guided us through the whole sanctuary, keeping pace with us for an hour.  I didn’t see his nametag, but he should win employee of the month.

It was my first time seeing a flamingo.  They are so impossibly delicate looking.  A Blue Heron, the huge national bird of South Africa, literally did a ballet over a wide area with wings spread a full six feet across, moving other birds out of its territory.  Beautiful!  I saw crimson feathers, and gold, and emerald green – every color imaginable.  Each feathery costume seemed to outdo the previous.  What a spectacle.

Just when I think I’ve seen it all, nature has a way of putting me back into a proper humble position.  Mother Nature is the greatest artist.

Note that there are similar sanctuaries for monkeys, big cats, and elephants in the area, so an animal-themed day is very possible.

(2014) Price: R160 per adult (about $15 US) and R80 per child aged 3 to 12

(2014) Hours: Open daily from 8am to 5pm.  December/January: open till 6 PM daily.

Book a hotel in in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa.


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