Sunday, June 22, 2014

Knysna – 07 May 2014 - Monkey Land and Birds of Eden

Knysna is a small town with a population of 52 thousand people. It is a very popular tourist destination and attracts people all round the year. Knysna is one of the Garden Route's best known travel destinations and was named one of the Top 100 Destinations in the World in Trip Advisor. The city has an excellent waterfront bustling with tourists in the evenings. There are a number of attractions around Knysna.

Typical Highway - Desolate
Lovely Landscape
Another view - on the way to Knysna

After a good night’s sleep we woke up in the morning fully refreshed. After breakfast we sat with the Swedish owners Erik and Yipe to chalk out a programme for the day. Knysna Country House, where we stayed is around 5 Km from the city centre – overlooking a valley. The house is very tastefully decorated and well maintained - A functional home stay. The house provides breakfast, but the kitchen and its facilities are available throughout the day and night – the residents get a key for the room, common area and the main gate. Interestingly, they run a well stocked ‘Honesty Bar’ – drink and log.

View from the terrace of the home stay

Enjoying Breakfast
We decided to visit Plettenberg Bay, yet another beautiful town on the Garden Route, blessed with lovely beaches and abounding in water sports. For the outdoor variety there is trekking in forests and hilly tracks. Whales also visit this bay from Aug to Nov. After soaking in the beauty of the place, we visited ‘Monkey Land’

Photo OP
Beautiful morning at the bay - Meat lovers on Tap

Plattenberg Bay

Bay view from top of a hill 
Monkey land

Monkeyland is the worlds’ first free roaming multi-species primate sanctuary. The Monkeyland and Birds of Eden forest (which we visited later) is described as an ‘Afro - montane Forest’. Trees in an afro - montane forest can be up to 30 m or 40 m tall and distinct strata of emergent trees, canopy trees and shrub and herb layers are present. The sanctuary is home to 17 varieties of monkeys, tortoise and Lemurs in their natural surroundings, roaming freely. It is really fascinating to able to walk around with the primates in their habitat. The guide told us that monkeys hate water except for ‘Verbet’ and ‘Japanese Snow Bat’ Monkeys’ which love to swim. Monkeys often use the tortoise as taxis in the sanctuary.

Even the monkey knows

Spider Monkey

Bearded Sakis


Squirrel monkey

Capuchin Monkey


Ring tailed Lemur

Spectacled Langur

With our guide

Birds of Eden

The Birds of Eden in Plettenberg Bay is the world’s largest single span aviary, where birds are free to fly. The valley provides an incredible experience for those who visit, and a wonderful way of life to many previously caged birds. The birds live in an enormous two hectare dome spanning a gorge filled with green, indigenous forest. The sanctuary encompasses 2.3 H of partly forested land, covered by a 3.2H mesh and criss-crossed by a 1.2km walkway. Visitors can explore, at their own pace. The sanctuary is home to over 3,500 birds of around 220 species, including touracos, Knysna Loeries, swans, spoonbills, weavers, scarlet ibis, barbets, parrots, parakeets, waterfowl, flamingos, starlings, robins and cranes. The sanctuary terrain includes a deep gorge with a waterfall and the highest point in the aviary is approximately 50m, covering all the treetops and allowing ample flying space for its winged inhabitants. Since most of the birds have spent their entire lives in captivity, this is their first chance to make adequate use of their wings and to experience natural avian behaviour. A visit to this sanctuary provides anyone entering the dome an exhilarating experience. At times the birds stalk and keep following you all the way. Some come and sit on your shoulder or on your outstretched hand.
Both the sanctuaries are staffed with volunteers from various nations who are keen to help preserve wild life.


Tanimbar Cockatoo

Hyacinth Macaw

Thick vegetation

Pheasant golden

Nicobar Pigeon

Knysna Lourie

Galah Rose breasted parrot

Muse Swan

Scarlet Ibis

Crowned Crane

Mandrin Duck
The overall experience is one of sheer joy, having had an opportunity to see wild life in a way we had never seen it before.

After a very satisfying visit, we returned to Knysna, to watch the sunset at the waterfront. We’ve seen many sunset scenes in our lifetime but this one was a masterpiece! The colours of the sky, the yachts at anchor and the sun disappearing so quickly and smoothly in front of our eyes, was mesmerizing. In all these coastal towns ‘Water Fronts’ play an important role in protecting the image of the city. It’s a hub for commercial and leisure associated activities.

Busy waterfront

Truly fascinating sunset

A last look at the waterfront

1 comment:

  1. C S ChandramouliJuly 1, 2014 at 7:26 AM

    Great photos. Enjoyed the trip at no cost to me!!