A Vibrant Habitat

Birds of Eden is just off the N2 north of Plettenberg Bay, about a 20 minute drive from Cornerway House.  The sanctuary which is a huge dome, covers about 2 hectares of indigenous forest. It is home to about 3000 birds, that have been rescued, no longer wanted or are in need of a secure environment. Here they can live in a natural protective environment. There are over 200 species. One can take a guided tour or stroll on your own. They have a very comprehensive booklet which makes the identification process easier. Birds of Eden’s mission is to care for the birds and educate the public.   Jandaya Conure
One unintentionally seems to overlook the majestic life of the bird. Once we walked through the doors and into the “Garden of Eden” this changed within a split second. I felt humbled by walking into this vibrant mixed habitat of these colourful, complex creatures that I don’t often acknowledge, grateful that these birds have been taken in to flourish all together, kind of like a Noah’s Ark.

Ibis

We couldn’t start the journey until we had fuelled up on an English Breakfast at the stunningly positioned little restaurant in the garden. This overlooks the bird pond that is home to hundreds of brightly coloured ducks, ibis, flamingo and proud nesting weavers. You can’t help but become enchanted instantly!

We walked through the garden at a leisurely pace (keep your camera battery fully charged!) most of the way accompanied by friendly ring-necks perched on our shoulders, stuff out of story-tales.

Ringneck

The garden consists of an incredible bamboo suspension bridge, (that makes your tummy slightly tingle) an overhead flowing waterfall, that you pass underneath and boardwalks laid out in a magical mezzanine-like layout, that takes you from top to bottom of the valley that is Birds of Eden. You are lead from the birds on and around the water where the colourful creatures that prefer the ground to graze,
all the way to the parrots and enormous South American bats claiming the higher reaches of the enormous enclosure.
If you have the time, and love it as much as we did, definitely take a walk around again, we did!

Since I was exposed to the beautiful creation that is the “Birds of Eden” I have a new found respect and appreciation for these magnificent creatures!

We highly recommend “Birds of Eden” and will definitely be back sooner than later for another enchanting visit!

Birds of Eden was created back in 2005, and is the largest single free flight aviary in the world. Check out http://www.birdsofeden.co.za

Here are some more of our photos from the visit to Birds of Eden:

PheasantSpoonbill

Red Lory

birds of eden

curious birdsblack swans

Flamingo

Mute swan

Suspension bridge – Tsitsikamma National Park

Last Saturday, we set out early to spend the day at Storms River Mouth in the Tsisikamma, which forms part of the Garden Route National Park. It is one of South Africa’s most diverse protected areas consisting of about 150km in a narrow band along the picturesque South Cape Coast. It extends from the Outeniqua Mountains to the sea, comprising of deep gorges, many rock pools, waterfalls and rich marine protected areas. To be honest it wasn’t the beauty that drew me, rather the opportunity of walking the suspension bridges. From Plettenberg Bay, it is 36km to the Toll Gate and then just a few more before you exit the N2 and find the entrance to the National Park on your right.

Tsitsikamma Mouth

The walk to the suspension bridges starts at the Storms River Mouth and takes you through some spectacular indigenous forest with superb views of the mouth and the ocean. The boardwalks are well laid out. We went Eastwards up some steps to a beautiful waterfall. Then it is a series of stairs, but the walk is relatively easy. All too soon you arrive at the Suspension Bridge.

suspension bridgeFor one like me that is petrified of heights, walking this bridge requires a lot of determination. I checked it out: the bridge spans the mouth of the river at a height of 9m and 65m long. It also moves!! People were walking across quite effortlessly. It was challenging for me and exhilarating, there was a lot of swaying. I felt a bit uneasy in places but my determination carried me to other side. We didn’t venture up the path to the Lookout view point. Walking back across the bridge was a little easier and the views up and down the gorge were breathtaking. By then the wind had started to pick up and walking back across the shorter bridge there was a lot more movement and sway!

On the way back, we stopped to read some of the information boards with lots of interesting facts about the area. Once back at the river mouth and camping area, we enjoyed a picnic with views of the ocean and waves. There is another walk along the coastline to a series of waterfalls and is the start of the epic Otter Trail. We are planning to return soon to visit these falls. I have found the perfect way to spend any Saturday is right here with the crashing waves, good company and awesome scenery!

suspension bridge

 suspension walk