When someone mentioned World of Birds the other day, it immediately struck a nostalgic chord with me. Yet it’s sad to think that this incredible wildlife sanctuary in Cape Town’s Hout Bay is a place one remembers fondly, but haven’t thought of for years.
So here are 10 reasons why everyone can have an amazing time at World of Birds and how it’s not a place reserved for kids on primary school outings and tourists.
1 Get up close
Many of the aviaries are designed so that you enter on the one end, walk along a little path in between the birds, and exit on the other side. Even though you’re encouraged to stay on the path, the birds are so used to humans that they’ll take a stroll beside you or fly (very closely) over your head as you wander through.
2. Feel like an explorer
This network of aviaries creates the feeling of being a true wilderness explorer. Every time you enter a new gate, you know there is some sort of bird inside there somewhere, and time and time again you’ll gasp in amazement when you spot them, either lurking above you or swooping overhead.
3. Take endless pictures
While walking through one particular owl enclosure, I didn’t see the sleeping sir until a friendly American pointed him out. He was chilling right above my hand – close enough to touch – and in the most beautiful position to photograph. Some even do their mating dances while you’re strolling through, making for some excellent photo opportunities.
4. Get lost in wonderland
World of Birds is situated on a 4-hectare tropical garden, a massive sanctuary considering you’re only about 20 minutes away from town. Some of the aviaries are open to the sky and you get a magnificent view of the back of Table Mountain. There’s even a secret garden, a beautifully landscaped tropical garden with a little winding path and some magnificent flowers.
5. See more than birds
If admiring birds aren’t exactly your thing, you can delight in the many other interesting animals living in the sanctuary. There are monkeys, a bat-eared fox, tortoises and even some alpacas to keep you entertained. Also, don’t forget to pop into the reptile sanctuary on your way out.
6. Help feed the birds
This campaign was set in place a while ago to encourage people to visit the sanctuary and, in turn, help to feed the birds. Their sole income is that of ticket sales, and because of the strong ‘no kill’ policy, they need these funds to help feed the birds. Watch a short clip of the gorilla campaign here.
7. Learn something new
It’s impossible to know every single one of the 400 hundred species you’ll find here. So why not see this as an educational experience? You can impress all your friends on your next safari by pointing out specific bird species.
8. Enjoy your tea in paradise
This is one of the few places where I was able to buy a pot of tea for less than R10. The café sells simple, but very enjoyable meals like toasties, pies, cake and burgers. And there are enough coffee, cooldrink and ice cream options to quench any type of thirst. The setting is peaceful and cool, with the cheerful bird chatter and resident cat making it that much more enjoyable.
9. Visit any day of the week
World of Birds is open 365 days a year, from 09h00 to 17h00 and it’s a great excuse to take the beautiful drive to Hout Bay and get out of the city.
10. They’re constantly improving
When I visited last week, the general manager, Hendrick Louw was busy slaving away with his work men to build a new sanctuary to house even more birds. They’re constantly experimenting with putting different birds together and making the enclosures bigger and more comfortable for the inhabitants.
You can win one of four family tickets to visit World of Birds, simply by clicking here and answering an easy question.