Faq's About Birds Of Eden
So many questions are frequently asked here at Birds of Eden. This is a list of the most popular questions and answers.
What can visitors do at Birds of Eden?
... go on a walking safari
Visitors to Birds of Eden are allowed to stroll through the sanctuary without a guide. During your visit, you can expect to see a large variety of birds, ranging from the African Turaco species to South American parrots. At present, Birds of Eden is home to around 3500 birds consisting of 220 species. All the birds are in free flight. Putting it simply, at our sanctuaries we abhor cages.
A visit to Birds of Eden is fun, exciting and educational. Our visitors leave Birds of Eden with happy hearts.
... be gob-smacked
Birds of Eden is basically the World’s largest bird cage. At 3.2 hectares, our gigantic dome dwarfs all other bird aviaries. Our unique sanctuary is a must-see for all South Africans and for travellers to Southern Africa.
... walk across the suspension bridge.
Birds of Eden has an elevated suspension bridge, it not as high and long as the famous Monkeyland bridge, but it’s awesome to cross and many cool visitor photographs are taken here.
... learn to appreciate birds.
The arrival of any new bird or animal at Birds of Eden is important to us, as this signifies possibly the only chance that this individual will ever have of living free. When seeing the birds in our aviary fly about, it is rather difficult to imagine that they were previously caged.
One of the true joys of visiting Birds of Eden is to discover and identifying the bird species. It is also a joy to observe all the birds in their various habitats, as they go about doing the things birds do.
Visitors can purchase ID booklets at reception, which aid in identifying the many bird species that we have. The colourful booklets cost R20 each. If you wish to download a PDF of the booklet for your phone please email Lara.
… lunch and shop
Your visit to Birds of Eden will start and end in our forest themed reception building. This space doubles as a curio store. We outsource all our restaurants, and Birds of Eden is known as the Jandaya Café. It is located inside the sanctuary and can be contacted by calling 044 534 8426 / 0828985899 or email Fiona (café owner)
… are there guided tours at Birds of Eden
Birds of Eden is essentially a self-guided tour, you can leisurely stroll through the sanctuary unguided. If guides are requested, we provide them free of charge, but this then needs to be pre-booked. You can do so by contacting Lara 0829795683.
School groups are always guided and so are pre-booked bus groups.
What is Birds of Eden all about?
Birds of Eden opened in December 2005 and is the largest free-flight single dome aviary in the world. The sanctuary encompasses 2.3ha of partly forested land, covered by a 3.2ha mesh and criss-crossed by a 1.2km walkway, which visitors may explore at their own pace. The aviary’s highest point is approximately 55m since the terrain includes a deep gorge with a waterfall, thus allowing ample flying space for its winged inhabitants. The sanctuary is home to over 3,500 birds of around 280 species.
We built Birds of Eden to provide a better home for caged birds. Many birds are brought to us by their owners who feel that they will have a (rightfully so) better life at Birds of Eden than they would at their homes. Unfortunately, many people purchase exotic animals as pets, and birds are the most popular. These poor birds are often kept on their own, in a cage. The novelty of having a pet bird wears off and when this happens, we want to be there to help these birds by providing a healthy happier life.
What makes Birds of Eden so special?
To place its size in perspective - the sanctuary is larger than the UK Millennium Dome. It’s single dome free-flight capacity is larger than any individual single dome aviary in the world - this includes the world-famous domes KL (Kuala Lampur) and Singapore (Jarong). The sanctuary is home to previously caged birds, excluding raptors, but it is also home to other wildlife such as golden-handed tamarins, bush babies, giant bats and the indigenous blou duiker bush buck. As with Monkeyland, Birds of Eden is a world first.
Birds of Eden aims, where possible to offer pet bird owners the opportunity to free their birds into the sanctuary. There is a protocol that must be followed and certain criteria that has to be met. Should you have a query regarding donating a bird please contact the curator team who will give you all the info required Grace firstname.lastname@example.org or Isabel on email@example.com
Can visitors walk through the forest in Birds of Eden on their own?
Birds of Eden has a 1.2 km wooden walkway, along which visitors can stroll at their own pace. If required, guides for Birds of Eden can be pre-booked or booked on the day of arrival. We will endeavour to assist with guides on short notice if possible.
Who funds Birds of Eden?
We are often asked whether we sustain our sanctuaries on government funding and/or private donations. The answer to this is no. Birds of Eden is totally self-sustaining because of its visitors. Every paying guest, entering our bird sanctuary, directly assists us to sustain Birds of Eden. The funds we manage to save, after expenses, enable us to develop further wildlife sanctuaries.
In a nutshell, Birds of Eden strives to achieve an effective balance between conservation and economic reality. As result, our sanctuaries are tourism driven, totally sustainable and will never rely on hand-outs.
Is Birds of Eden a sanctuary or a zoo?
Dictionaries define a sanctuary for animals as merely a place where animals are protected from hunting. A true sanctuary for wild animals should, however, also be a place of refuge to protect them from much more than hunting. They must also be protected against exploitation, abuse, neglect and improper care.
At Birds of Eden, care surpasses the feeble regulations regarding animal welfare. Our sanctuaries are safe havens where animals are rehabilitated, both physically and emotionally. Part of this rehabilitation is the reintroduction to members of their own species, through a process known as the “Eden Syndrome”. If the wild animal is to behave naturally in a free environment, it must first be allowed to return to its natural state.
We only create places where the wild animals can live as natural as possible. Places where wild animals are naturalised, where they are not petted, prodded and posed with, places where they are not caged.
Can I touch or hold any of the birds at Birds of Eden?
No, touching and/or feeding of the bird is strictly prohibited. We don’t condone wildlife petting at our sanctuaries – it is a pure form of harassment.
I’ve always wanted a bird. If I wanted to purchase a bird, what bird can I keep as a pet? Do you sell birds?
We hate this question. The answer is NO, we do not have any affiliation with the trade in wild animals.
There are no wild animals that are well suited as pets. Birds become frustrated when kept as pets. Just like you, they would prefer not to live in a small cage.
Is Birds of Eden wheelchair accessible?
Yes, at Birds of Eden, we have easy access ramps for wheelchairs and we provide wheelchairs (to use) at our sanctuary for the elderly and visitors who walk with difficulty. It is always better to pre-arrange the use of our wheelchairs, so please email Lara firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Can you overnight at Birds of Eden?
We have no overnight accommodation available. There are wonderful establishments nearby that can be made use of. If you need assistance with accommodation options near Birds of Eden, please email Lara or visit the local "Cruise The Crags" website.
What else can I do near Birds of Eden?
You can bungy jump, abseil, go tubing, do a canopy tour, whale watch, hike, shop, horse ride, surfing, see the big 5, abseiling, sky dive, or you can relax on the beach. There is too much to do to list. Please email Lara for assistance.
What do the birds eat? Is there enough food in the forest for them? And where do you get all the bird food from?
The birds cannot live off the berries and grubs they find in the forest. There are feeding platforms throughout the forest for the birds of Birds of Eden. A variety of chopped fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables are laid out each day. Most birds do forage through the forest eating leaves, seeds and insect prey, but 99% of the food they consume we supply. Our annual sanctuary food bill exceeds 1 million rand.
Part of the visitor fee funds the buying of the food from various local outlets. Don’t fool yourself to think they eat food which is past its sell by date. The food our birds eat is the same fruit, vegetable, nuts etc. that you would purchase for yourself.
As with humans, birds have taste buds so why on earth would they want to eat inferior food?
Why should I visit Birds of Eden?
Simply said – because you will relish every moment.
It is wonderful to watch previously caged birds fly - remembering that these birds used to have restricted flight. Living inside Birds of Eden enables birds, who cannot be released back into the wild, to live a naturalised life.
By visiting you are also directly assisting us with our conservation projects.
Do you have bird shows?
No. The wild animals in our care don’t have to perform for their food. This is not a circus. We treat the wildlife in our care with dignity and respect. Wildlife interaction is a form of harassment and we don’t support this at all.
When is the best time to visit Birds of Eden? And what happens when it starts to rain does the safari end?
Anytime between 8am and 5pm is perfect for a visit. Our birds are wild (naturalised) and continue with their day-to-day activities, come rain or shine so you won’t miss anything.
How far are you from Cape Town, George and other towns like Knysna and Jeffrey's Bay? And where is the nearest airport?
Monkeyland is situated ± 20 minutes outside Plettenberg Bay just off the N2. It is ±6 hours from Cape Town, 1 hrs 45 min from George, 45 min from Knysna and about 1 hour 30 min from Jeffrey's Bay.
The closest airport is Plettenberg Bay, though there is a restricted service flying into this small airport. FlyCem operates direct flights from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Margate and Bloemfontein.
Alternatively, the airports in George is next closest followed by the Port Elizabeth airport.
How long has Birds of Eden been open?
Birds of Eden opened the 15th of December 2005.
Is there ample secure parking at Birds of Eden for vehicles and busses, and is the road tarred?
Yes, there is lots of parking and the road is tarred.
What is the after-hours contact number?
You can contact Lara Mostert. Her mobile number is 082 9795683
Any advice for visitors?
If you are an avid birder I would suggest that you bring your binoculars along.
Wear flat shoes – ladies – leave those stilettos at home.
If it rains, you can use an umbrella, but we recommend a rain jacket or poncho. Disposable ponchos are available at reception for R12.
Parents - we find it’s easier to use a kiddie backpack carrier than a pram.
Purchase an ID booklet for R20 at reception. It will help you identify the birds.
You can walk through Birds of Eden in 1 hour, but if you have the time – make the time for a longer leisurely visit.
Enquire about our Birds of Eden membership programme, if you plan to visit more than once a year, it will make sense to become a sanctuary member. Email Lara for more info.