Tag Archives: bird sanctuary

Owls, Kites and Vultures in Eagle Encounters at Spier, Stellenbosch (2017-09-16) Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 19 MAR 2019

Eagles, owls, hawks, falcons, kites, buzzards, secretary birds and vultures – if birds of prey interest you then a visit to Eagle Encounters at Spier in Stellenbosch should probably very firmly be on your cards.

Founded in 2001, Eagle Encounters is a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation, conservation, education and eco-tourism center. It is home to numerous types of rescued raptors, has a number of interactive touch points, and their flying demonstrations are always both informative and entertaining.

The girls always love visiting there (touching and interacting with the owls is by far their favourite bit), and honestly, the institution always makes for an interesting outing. Easy to recommend really.

And as a bonus, a visit to Eagle Encounters is also a visit to the delightful Spier wine estate, itself a brilliant adventure packed with food, art, activities, wine and endless views.

Related Link: Eagle Encounters | Spier | Stellenbosch

Owls, Eagles and Squirrel Monkeys at The World of Birds in Hout Bay (2017-06-24) Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 27 JAN 2019

Hout Bay’s impressive World of Birds avian-focused animal sanctuary and its exotic garden theme has been a staple of the Cape Town tourist scene for years now.

The birds, the greenery, the animals, the sheer size, everything combines to make for a fantastic family outing option (for both locals and tourists alike), and is certainly a visit that we’ve all enjoyed in the past.

So of course, the girls and I paid them a visit.

And yes, as far as the girls were concerned, the interactive squirrel monkeys enclosure was by far the biggest hit of the day.

Related Link: World of Birds | Hout Bay | Cape Town

Birdwatching at Intaka Island in Century City, Cape Town (2016-09-18) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 15 MAR 2017

It is not exactly hidden, but if you only ever travel to Century City for the Canal Walk mall, Virgin Active gym, or Ratanga Junction theme park, then you may have missed the incredibly enjoyable nature experience lurking within its boundaries – Intaka Island.

Situated in the heart of Century City (which is about 7 km away from Cape Town CBD), Intaka Island is a large 16 ha wetland and bird sanctuary conservation area.

Intaka, which means bird in Xhosa, was actually setup by the main Century City developer Rabie – in response to the environmental impact assessment (EIA) which preceded whole area development – with the result being the creation of this sublime multi-purpose nature reserve.

In terms of credentials and recognition, well Intaka Island did receive the Voluntary Conservation Status from Cape Nature in October 2006, and to further their newly entrusted mission, the Intaka Trust followed up with the construction of a modern Environmental Education Centre, opening its doors to the public in 2010.

The site contains numerous paths for exploration (the longer round trip is 2 km in length) and bird watching (essentially it is littered with viewing platforms and bird hides wherever you look) – well worth it if you consider that over 120 different bird species call this unique area home!

Paradise for birders, photographers and nature lovers then.

Funnily enough, despite visiting the adjacent Central Park for many a year prior, I had never set foot on Intaka Island before last year September, when I decided to convince Chantelle that the girls would love a trip out that way.

Naturally, I was completely wrong.

It was hot, the girls weren’t interested in the surroundings, the path was too long, and basically they moaned for most of the walk.

Charming.

(Thankfully, they both loved the boat ride on the Canal that followed our little walkabout – meaning that all was soon forgiven!)

In other words, I need to make a plan on going back out there on my own, without the little ones in tow. So in summary then: Intaka Island is well worth a visit, though you may wish to give it a skip if you have little ones with a strong aversion to walking!

Also, if you have a camera, be sure not to leave it at home.

Also, just in case you want to got and do some birdwatching yourself, here’s a handy map:

Related Link: Intaka Island | Century City

Exploring Birds of Eden in The Crags (2016-06-25) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 11 JUL 2016

The first day of our long weekend away at Far Hills Country Hotel, just outside of George, saw us hit the N2 (and by hit, I mean travel slowly, thanks to the multitude of speed cameras and restrictive speed limits in the area!) and travel along the Garden Route all the way past Plettenberg Bay, until we reached the activity-rich area known as The Crags.

Our first activity scheduled for the day was a visit to the famous Birds of Eden sanctuary, touted as being the world’s largest free flight aviary and bird sanctuary.

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Now Chantelle and I have visited the bird sanctuary previously back in 2009 as part of our honeymoon roadtrip, and as such, were rather eager to introduce this great place to our little girls.

Monty and Cheryl opted to join us on this outing, and pleasingly, the weather turned out to be perfect for the day, allowing us to take our time and wander about the lush and overgrown aviary without a care in the world.

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Thanks to the cool weather as well as being in the middle of breeding season, the aviary wasn’t exactly overflowing with birds out in the open, which was a bit of a pity because it meant that we strolled the boardwalks for relatively long sections without so much as a single sighting!

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Despite that though, there was in the end more than enough birds available for spotting by our eager little girls, and despite the length of the walk (there’s 1.2 km of walkways covering the length and breadth of the 2.3 hectare large aviary) the girls seemed to thoroughly enjoy the adventure!

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(However, the novelty of a 1.2 km walk does wear off after a couple of hours when you’re little, so we did travel the last few meters with two rather grumbly and tired little girls!)

I thoroughly enjoyed the outing, and we had some great sightings of some unusual birds, with the trip being rounded off by the hilarious addition of people preparing for a wedding procession whilst being watched by a troop of baboons outside.

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I did snap a lot of photos with my Huawei P8 phone as per usual, but unfortunately the varying light conditions caused by all the foliage meant that the picture quality came out pretty uneven to say the least! Still, it should give you some idea as to what to expect if you yourself ever make the trip down there…

Related Link: Birds of Eden

World of Birds in Hout Bay (2015-02-15) Photo Gallery 18 FEB 2015

Last Sunday (following our relaxing picnic on Saturday), Chantelle and I rounded up the girls and headed off nice and early across the Boerewors Curtain to Hout Bay, where the plan was to meet up with Monty and Cheryl at the world renowned World of Birds sanctuary. As it turned out, neither of us quite made the 10:00 meeting time – we got stuck behind a sightseeing bus whilst they got stuck behind cyclists! (Not that one complains though – driving past Kirstenbosch and then on to Hout Bay is always a fantastic treat in terms of the scenery).

Anyway, in the end we arrived at the World of Birds at pretty much the same time, and first stop for the in-laws was a cup of coffee at the little Robin’s Nest restaurant. There it was a rather nice surprise to have Robert and new squeeze Tarryn join us for the day, and with everyone now awake, and Jess pretty restless, it was off to view the feathered fowls!

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World of Birds bills itself as such:

“World of Birds is the largest bird park in Africa and one of the few large bird parks in the World. Over 3 000 birds (and small animals) of 400 different species are uniquely presented in more than 100 spacious landscaped walk through aviaries, allowing you the most intimate closeness with nature.

A tropical garden setting in the Hout Bay Valley is the environment in which the aviaries are spaced over 4 ha of land, framed by the back of Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles, Constantiaberg, Chapman’s Peak and Little Lion’s Head. A paradise for nature lovers and photographers, the World of Birds is one of Cape Town’s premier tourist attractions which no visitor should miss.”

IMG_20150215_120426 chantelle lotter and jessica ride a gorilla

Yup, that’s a lot of ground to cover and a lot of birds to see, so it’s no wonder that we ended up wandering around the sanctuary for 3 hours or so! The variety of bird life (from literally right across the world!) is always astonishing, not to mention the fact that you literally walk alongside them in the enclosures it an absolute delight. In fact, it is best summed up as a proper treat of an outing!

(If I was a photographer with a proper camera I would be in seventh heaven thanks to all the feathered models I would have access to… but I’m not, which explains all the tiny, tiny birds on the photos taken with my phone!)

IMG_20150215_120325 monty and cheryl montgomery with jessica lotter

The weather was perfect, and apart from a little slip and slide that saw Jess soaked to the bone, boots and all, everything ran pretty smoothly, with the kids (and adults) thoroughly enjoying themselves.

As you can see, I was pretty busy with my camera phone as well:

Having seen our fill of eagles, owls, storks and chickens, we ended our adventure in Hout Bay by joining the heavy traffic to the harbour, where our initial plan of enjoying some takeaway fish and chips fell through based entirely on just how busy the harbour was – i.e. it was packed!

IMG_20150215_141416 hout bay harbour

In the end, we headed up the ramp to the nautically themed Mariner’s Wharf, where after a bit of a wait in the bar for a table, we sat down and enjoyed some particularly tasty (but expensive!) fish and chips.

All in all, a fantastic day out for the family, and as always, a trip that I can highly recommend! :)

Related Link: http://www.worldofbirds.org.za/

Photo Gallery: Falcon Ridge (2010-05-10) My Life | Photo Gallery 10 MAY 2010

The Drakensberg is a spectacular part of our country, and one of the spots well worth a visit if you are ever in the area (like when Chantelle surprised me to a weekend away at the stunning Inkungu lodge for my 30th birthday!) is Falcon Ridge, a birds of prey sanctuary that is in the business of rehabilitating our feathery predators.

With a spectacular view down into the valley, knowledgeable handlers and an awe-inspiring collection of rescued and rehabilitated birds of prey, Falcon Ridge is definitely on my list of places to return to! :)

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