Exploring South Africa’s “Birds Of Eden”

Last Updated on September 5, 2015

While in South Africa’s Plettenburg Bay area, we visited the ‘largest’ free flight bird sanctuary in the world. Walking through the doors to the sanctuary, you enter the unique two hectare dome (again, the World’s largest) that spans over a gorge of indigenous forest with a canopy walk.


Birds Of Eden was created to allow a safe environment where a large variety of birds can be released, including pet birds once they have completed rehabilitation. There are more than 3,000 birds at Birds of Eden, comprising over 220 species. Whether the birds are ex pets, 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.

We thought it was fabulous that the entire project was built using unskilled labor from the neighboring community if Kurkland Village. Workers were trained in all areas of safety and high-wire construction. Over 100km of cable was used in the construction to create the grid the mesh rests on. There is enough wire in the mesh that it could go one seventh of the way around the earth!

These cute little Golden-handed Tamarins run around freely with the birds.

Interesting facts we did not know about birds:

  • A bird’s heart beats 400 times per minute while they are at rest. When they are flying however, their heart could beat up to 1000 beats per minute.
  • A duck’s mouth contains rows of tiny plates that line their teeth, to help them filter water out of their beaks without losing food.
  • A bird’s feathers weigh more than its skeleton does.
  • 90% of birds are monogamous.
  • Turacos are the only birds that possess true red and green color. With most birds, the color you see is a reflection produced by the color structure.
  • A healthy bird will stand on one leg while sleeping with the other curled up under its body.
  • The main cause of death in pet birds is malnutrition.
  • A bird’s normal body temperature is usually 7-8 degrees hotter than a human’s.
  • Up to 3/4 of the air a bird breathes is used to cool it down, as it cannot sweat.
  • A birds heart beats 400 times per minute while resting and up to 1000 times per minute while flying.


The birds in the sanctuary are absolutely beautiful.


Take a look at some of the stunning birds we were able to lay our eyes on:

Buffoni Green Turaco


Hartlaub’s Turaco


Channel-billed Toucan
Black-collared Barbet
Blue and Gold Macaw
Caribbean Flamingo
Scarlet Ibis
Golden Pheasant
Western Grey Plantain Eaters


Birds Of Eden is located right beside Monkeyland, making it a great combo to visit both in the same day. You are able to leisurely walk through Birds Of Eden as your visit is self-guided, giving you all the time your heart desires to scope out different birds.


Where have you witnessed some cool birds?