Tag Archives: bird sancturary

Pigeons and Parrots at Birds of Eden in Plettenberg Bay (2019-01-05) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 25 DEC 2019

Wolves, snakes, elephants, monkeys, lions and tigers, the achingly scenic Crags area near Plettenberg Bay is home to a smorgasbord of wildlife sanctuaries, with one of our absolute favourites being the incredible Birds of Eden free flight sanctuary, home to 3,000+ birds comprising of more than 220 species. In other words there is a lot to see!

Birds of Eden has been around for quite a few years now and this large free flight sanctuary is a sight worth seeing. A small forest enclosed in a giant mesh tent, this wide open space allows all manner of rescued birds to thrive and survive, and in the process create an incredibly family friendly viewing experience.

A wooden walkway snakes through the enclosure allowing you plenty of close up opportunities to watch the birds feed, fly and play, and with so many of these animals coming from a life as caged pets or hand-reared/imprinted companions, most are quite content to hang around humans and have their picture taken. (No touching though!)

It is lush, it is humid, there is a great little cafe on the water to watch the water fowl from, and the incredibly burst of colours and constant bird calls that surround you all come together to make for a remarkable experience – one that Chantelle and I enjoy sharing with the girls as often as what we can.

Touching Owls from Eagle Encounters at Spier in Stellenbosch (2016-09-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 12 MAR 2017

I’m not massively fond of animals in captivity. However, there is most of the time a sound argument for this to be a thing (and necessary at that), so okay, I’ll go with it. Plus, when you have kids, nothing beats a trip to see some really interesting feathered/furry/scaly creatures – which is a lot easier when they are conveniently all in one place.

Now, if birds of prey is your thing and you find yourself in the Stellenbosch winelands, then you are definitely in luck, because Eagle Encounters, situated on land donated by the renowned Spier wine estate, is definitely worth a stop.

Founded in 2001, Eagle Encounters is a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation, conservation, education and eco-tourism centre.

Birds of prey, raptors are their speciality, and scattered all about their premises you will encounter a wide variety of eagles, hawks, falcons, kites, buzzards, vultures, owls and all other manner of feathered hunters.

With funding coming primarily from their eco-tourism slant, Eagle Encounters makes sure that there is enough on the go to keep visitors interested, with various interactive shows throughout the day, including falconry demonstrations, secretary bird stomp displays, and mock hunts for their varied selection of raptors.

The birds are for the most part out in the open, tethered to their perches, which is apparently the currently most accepted way of keeping these big birds safe and sound, as it helps in preventing them from injuring themselves whilst in captivity.

(Like I said, I’m not overly fond of animals in captivity, though birds have always been the worst for me. Nothing sadder than seeing a bird in a tiny cage. I honestly don’t know why anyone keeps birds as pets. Very maddening for me. Strangely enough though, fish are alright. I have no idea why I have such a lower opinion of the little swimming fellas out there..)

Anyway, the kids always seem to enjoy the outing – though I suspect that is almost entirely based on the fact that they are allowed to touch owls, and better still, coax them to come and sit on their arms.

Which so far has worked out pretty well for us.

In other words, I’m still waiting for the day one of the owls decides to make a sudden poo!

(Mind you, this particular visit of ours was pretty cool. I got to hold a Cape Vulture aloft – man, those birds are much lighter than what their size suggests! Sadly though, Chantelle didn’t get a photo of this. A lot better than the last time I was called up during an interactive show – the guys at Giraffe House put a tarantula on my face!)

Right. So in short, an interesting visit if you are into your birds of prey. Photo opportunities as with any bird sanctuary is a bit of a hit and miss – I know that I certainly never get anything good on my little old phone camera whenever we pop in for a visit to a place with creatures behind fencing/netting…

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Naturally, here’s a map if you want to go and touch some soft fluffy owls for yourself one day:

Related Link: Eagle Encounters | Facebook | Spier