Saturday 12 to Monday 14 November
We were given a lot of options for our drive from Tsitsikamma to Plettenberg Bay. There was birds, monkeys, big cats, lesser cats, elephants, textiles, wine, snakes and ceramics.
We chose birds – the blurb described the Birds of Eden sanctuary as the largest single free flight aviary in the world, with the added comment ‘Do this only if you have time’.
We were also told that there weren’t many options for food in Plettenberg Bay on a Sunday and a lunch was recommended.
It seemed that we could tour the bird sanctuary in the morning and enjoy a long late lunch.
Birds of Eden did not disappoint. It is so big that various terrains and climates are created to accommodate the large variety of birds there. The walkway twisted and turned up down and around the aviary, so it felt like you had walked miles.
For many of its residents, the sanctuary is a rehabilitation place for ex-pets. They are encouraged to be as wild and free as possible. Strict rules for us humans include no petting. That suits me – I don’t touch or feed wild animals. Their freedom is too important.
The story about Rosie the Galah was particularly poignant:
Whereas most birds take only a few months to return to their natural instinctive behaviour, some do take longer. It took us three years to get Rosie to the point where she was happy enough and confident enough to live free, this only because she spent almost 15 years of her life in a small budgie sized cage in a room in a flat with no windows. Being introduced into Birds of Eden was a huge step for her, we allowed her all the time she needed to regain her confidence. It may seem like she wants to hitch a ride, but for those of us who know her, we can see that she instantly gets uncomfortable and very nervous when she is carried out of her territory, she knows what lies ahead… she will end up paying the price for this by being beaten ‘up’.
We had seen a lot of birds during our safaris in Africa and also in a previous journey through Central America. It was wonderful to be able to identify so many of them.
I enjoyed this sanctuary and the good work done there so much, I bought the book. There are a lot of bird pics below – and most of them are named.
As for lunch – that was also a great success. Equinox was just a short walk from Swallow’s Nest, our guest house in Plettenberg Bay. Sunday special was a Sunday Roast, with good South African wines and a fantastic view over the southern ocean.
We finished the day with a long walk on Central Beach watching birds, surfers and dolphins.