Hoo-hoo-a-a-cheep-cheep: Monkeyland & the Birds of Eden

Day Thirteen: After an interesting night spent with strange-looking spiders lurking in the toilet and heavy insect repellant smells still clinging to the hairs of our nostrils, we said our good-byes and headed off to our next “we-do-not-know-where” destination. We used the national highway that takes you all along the beautiful coastline and through one or two national parks, a few lush and indigenous forests, many towns and quaint villages, about ten rivers and three large tranquil lakes. This was one of the most interesting and greenest roads we’ve travelled on so far. The highway cuts right through the centre of the town of Knysna (pronounced NIZE-NA) and after driving along the Knysna River, we were so impressed that we decided to stop here.  It was hot. Ssstt! We parked next to an old “Choo-Tjoe” Trolley (see below) at the Waterfront-Knysna Quays then hurried over to get some much needed shade, and ice-cream. We peeked into a few delightful little boutiques and curio shops, strolled along the marina with its bobbing boats and fancy yachts, then stopped to admire the famous lagoon. We were quite sad that we were not able to spend more time here, but we put it on our bucket list for next time. Oh, and we almost, almost ended up buying a big fat diamond engagement ring. She said…!Yikes! 😱 Let’s get outta here…

 

The interesting statue below is carved from cypress wood. The Berlin Pub near to it sold ice-cold German beers, but was totally ignored by the German. The other one wanted to sip that bitter yucky stuff just for some relief from the plip-plip-plip heat, but…DRIVING!!

 

Knysna Yacht Club with part of the vast lagoon which flows into the Indian Ocean

 

 

Monkeyland

Only about a forty-five minute drive from Knysna, and just outside the beautiful holiday resort Plettenberg Bay (“Plett” as it’s lovingly called), is a free-roaming (fenced) primate sanctuary called Monkeyland. It covers about twelve hectares of indigenous forest and has several private nature reserves around it. The best and only way to see everything in Monkeyland is to book a walking safari tour. Done and dusted! As we sat outside waiting for our safari guide, a brown squirrel monkey jumped out of nowhere and bounced on the head of an unsuspecting “sipping-a-drink-female. Le Moi! Okay, so the curly wispy afro did look like a wild bush and the sipping-through-the-straw was a bit loud, but still, there was no reason to scare the living daylights out of an afro mop(pet). A wanna-be blood-curdling scream gathered at the bottom of my dry-from-shock throat but that got stifled just as quickly when the sun-tanned guide appeared and said “howzit everyone”. It took quite a while for my thumpity-thump booming heart to settle down, but all in all it was an amazing experience, retrospectively. The trembling legs even managed to cross a swaying rope bridge, alone! Only one person at a time could walk that bridge 🐒 🐵

Our guide was fantastic and had a great sense of humour. The safari is very informative and extensive with a lot of walking, talking, ooh-ing and aah-ing. You can look, but not touch, even if the animals are curling around your feet (or jumping on your head). There are more than seven hundred primates and we were lucky to have seen ten of the eleven species in this wonderful monkey paradise. Yes, they are all ex-captives brought here to be physically and emotionally rehabilitated, then left to be free in their natural lifestyle. Strangely enough, almost none of the monkeys here are from South Africa, probably not even from Africa at all. Click on these amazing photos for further information…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birds of Eden

The Birds of Eden is a free-flight bird sanctuary under a fifty metre high mesh dome, is right next to Monkeyland, and also a rehabilitation aviary for more than two hundred and fifty species of formerly caged birds. Here you will mainly find African birds, but there are some also from South America, Asia or elsewhere, and one or two unknowns. There are no guided tours, but it’s an easy two kilometre walkabout at your own pace through two or more hectares of beautiful forest and waterways. As for the birds! Oh my word! The first one as we entered the sanctuary was cheeky enough to shout a big “Hello!” to us. Another tried to peck our toes, or walk on our shoulders and yet another tried to chew my ear! To crown it all, a bird also pooped on Le Moi! Eeeew! A very good day hahahaha. As the saying goes, if a bird poops on you, it brings luck. Well, I agree!

 

The hadada or hadeda ibis below is probably the loudest screaming bird ever! They’re like everywhere in your garden and the noise starts before the cock crows. Early!

 

 

 

 

Male and Female Golden pheasant or Chinese pheasants. The men are colourful and the females a boring brown. Why, mara, why??

 

 

 

Red-shouldered macaw “picking”. It refused to leave us alone, following us until we managed to “hide” up a tree-house. Funny!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knysna turaco (Tauraco corythaix), a local!

 

 

Please stay off the grass – a Scarlet ibis that can read…and obey 😂

 

 

 

 

 

White-faced whistling ducks. The German spent what felt like hours with these lovers, and the not so impressed loser watching them canoodle in front of him. Aw, shame…

 

 

 

Flamingos and Spoonbills are not so easy to get this close to in the wild, so it was nice to have this eye-to-eye with them.

 

 

Chinese goose – not a species for the Christmas roast…oops!

 

A Black swan (Cygnus atratus) is also not found everywhere…

 

 

 

 

 

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