Birds of Eden Bird Sanctuary in Plettenberg Bay South Africa

Birds of Eden Bird Sanctuary in Plettenberg Bay South Africa

Birds of Eden is the Garden Route's world class free flight bird sanctuary. The unique two hectare dome (the World’s largest) spans over a gorge of indigenous forest. The sanctuary has its own mysterious ruin, which incorporates a walk-behind waterfall. Another feature is its amphitheater, which has the ability to seat over 200 visitors.

Like Monkeyland, the popular primate sanctuary next-door, Birds of Eden boasts its own canopy walk, while shorter than the 128m bridge at Monkeyland, it hangs above the clouds.

The decision to develop Birds of Eden stems from the need to create a safe environment in which to release a large collection of free-flight African birds, miniature monkeys and the sanctuary also enables bird owners to apply to release their pet birds into the sanctuary, after undergoing rehabilitation.

Birds of Eden opened it's doors to the public December 2005. Currently over 3500 birds live at the sanctuary.

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Tour/Activity Details




Please Note: Time shown on availability calendar is for booking purposes only. The sanctuary is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm daily and you are free to visit any time during those hours.

Rates do not include hotel pick-up. Rates are per person in US Dollars. Please order online or call to order or for more information.


About the Birds

The bird inhabitants of the aviary comprise a mixture of exotic as well African birds (50/50). They also include previously caged pets and hand reared and imprinted individuals, this explains why some of the inhabitants (especially the parrots of which there is 60 different species)) are unafraid of human beings and seemingly tame. All new arrivals at Birds of Eden go through a process of rehabilitation before they enter the actual sanctuary of the main aviary. Be they ex pets, or birds confiscated from zoos or irreputable breeders, most of the birds that arrive at Birds of Eden have a history of being caged in small environments.

The main rehabilitation process involves socialization with other birds in large outdoor pre-release aviaries as well as the building up of flight muscles, and learning flight control, i.e. practicing landings, change of direction etc. Make no mistake! All birds can fly, no matter how badly their wings are clipped; the question is just how high and how far. Releasing them into the main aviary immediately, would be tantamount to running a marathon without any training!

Birds such as the cranes, flamingos and some of the ducks have been subjected to the cruel practice of pinioning, where a section of the wing is actually removed to prevent them from ever flying again. These birds find sanctuary in the aviary in as natural a habitat as is possible given their history. The rest of the release process is instinctive and absolutely remarkable; all the birds instinctively know which area of the aviary suits their needs, how and where to look for and find food and water and shelter from weather conditions. Species recognition is immediate, for example, when a new Ringneck is released into the aviary, all the other Ringnecks gather to have a look at the newcomer!

The winning factor of the aviary has to be its size. The volume particularly, allows the creation of habitat niches for the large variety of species that find sanctuary here. On entering the aviary, one walks into an indigenous forest which comprises 70% of the aviary.

Birds found in this habitat are either ground living (terrestrial) or arboreal and very shy. Examples are the Golden pheasants, the males noticeably resplendent in their breeding colours, the shy minuscule white starred robin, terrestrial Bulbuls, olive thrush, and bearded barbets and naturally in the canopy, the shy but colorful Tauraco species - Fleetingly visible when looking up into the canopy, recognizable by their incandescent red flight feathers. At present there are 8 species of Tauraco in the aviary, including the infamous Knysna loerie.

Like plants, humans and all other living things, birds love the sun. This becomes apparent as one moves away from the forest floor and closer towards the canopy, the cacophony of sounds tells of abundant bird life out of sight, but up there somewhere. In this part of the forest the Channel Billed toucan, and their miniature counterparts, the Black necked and Green Aracaris (toucanettes), as well as the White Tailed and Inca Jays, are memorable when spotted. One exits the forest on to the forest deck area, and here the splendor of all the parrot species really hits you. It is here that the Blue and Gold Macaws and the Green Wing Macaw hang out as well as the very vocal Conures (12 species); Ringnecks and other parakeets and lorikeets.

The exit from the forest marks the beginning of a completely new habitat, namely that of the grasslands, marsh and woodlands, and of course the multiple waterways that traverse the duck ponds. Species to be sighted here are the Scarlet ibis, flamingos (Greater and Caribbean), spoonbills, cranes (Blue cranes and Crowned cranes), egrets, moorhens etc.

The smaller parrot species that prefer more open vegetation are also spotted here, (budgies, lovebirds and cockatiels) The lawn area provides resting and feeding space for most of the many waterfowl, whilst the sparser trees are home to the hornbill, and various weaver species, who utilize this area to build their nests over the waterways.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Birds of Eden, all about? -- Birds of Eden opened in December 2005 and is the largest free-flight aviary in the world. The sanctuary encompasses 2.3ha of partly forested land, covered by a 3.2ha mesh and cris-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 3,000 birds of around 280 species.

What makes Birds of Eden so special? -- Birds of Eden, encapsulates 2 cubic hectares of indigenous forest and houses previously caged and rehabilitated birds, excluding raptors. The sanctuary is also home to a variety of free roaming miniature monkeys, such as cotton-top and golden-handed tamarins.

As with Monkeyland, Birds of Eden is a world first. The sanctuary is larger than the UK Millennium Dome, it’s free-flight capacity is larger than any individual free-flight dome in the world – including the World famous Kuala Lampur & Jarong Bird Parks.

Can I walk around the forest on my own? -- Birds of Eden has a 1.2 km wooden walkway, along which visitors can stroll at their own pace.

How far do we walk on safari? -- The walkway is 1.2km in length. For a laid-back visit you should spend 3 to 4 hours between the two sanctuaries, but if you are in a hurry, you could visit both sanctuaries in 2 hours (this allows 1 hour per sanctuary)

Is Birds of Eden wheelchair friendly? -- Yes, the sanctuary has easy access ramps in the restaurant areas to make it accessible for wheelchairs. Birds of Eden is completely wheelchair friendly.

Where do the birds come from?
The birds come from captive environments, mostly zoos, and private homes where they were kept as pets.

Has anybody ever been bitten? -- Generally birds only bite if they have been provoked. For example trying to hug, tease or harm a bird may result in a bite. If you listen and abide by the rules of the forest you will have no problems.

How far are you from Cape Town, George and other towns like Knysna and Jeffrey's Bay? And where is the nearest airport? -- Birds of Eden is situated ±20 minutes outside Plettenberg Bay just off the N2. It is ±6 hours from Cape Town, 2 hrs 30 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. It is also quite expensive, only private planes land there. Alternatively, the airports in George is next closest and then there is the Port Elizabeth airport.

Is there ample secure parking at Birds of Eden for vehicles and busses, and is the road tarred? -- Yes

Rates do not include hotel pick-up. Rates are per person in US Dollars. Please order online or call to order or for more information.

Cancellation Policy

There are no refunds. All sales are final.

Change policy

If changes are allowed on a tour or activity, a $20.00 per reservation change fee will be applied for any change to a reservation. Please note that some tours and activities do not allow any changes. Date changes can only be made only if we can confirm availability on the new date. While we cannot guarantee any changes can be made, all change requests must be submitted a minimum of 24 hours prior to the tour departure and must be handled on an individual basis through our Reservations Center.

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<< March 2018 >>

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Rates All rates are in US Dollars

Event Date:

March 19, 2018

Desired Time:

08:00 AM