The Crags, a jewel in the Garden Route crown some 15km east of Plettenberg Bay, is a veritable cornucopia of attractions for the passing visitor. Two of the star attractions in the area are Monkeyland and Birds of Eden, sister sanctuaries adjacent to each other. A visit to these two unique venues is highly recommended for all Bamboo guests.
Primates globally have been and continue to be severely mistreated by humanity – the pet trade, bush meat, destruction of habitat, scientific experimentation, etc. In view of our miserable track record in this regard, the concept of Monkeyland evolved in the minds of certain forward looking and compassionate individuals as a means of providing abused and mistreated primates with a semi-natural, free ranging environment in which they could enjoy an existence closely matching that which they would have found in their natural habitat.
On April 6th 1998 Monkeyland opened its doors to the public – a 23 hectare paradise of indigenous forest which afforded the sanctuary residents a free-roaming and caring environment.
Two extraordinary people, Tony Blignaut and Lara Mostert, were so distressed by the trade in primates in globally that they set about ending this trade in South Africa by buying up all the available ‘stock’ from breeders and the like – so successful were they that the largely unregulated industry has yet to fully recover! Through a rehabilitation process known as The Eden Syndrome, these primates formed the nucleus of Monkeyland’s original residents. Monkeyland endeavours to rehabilitate all previously caged and mistreated primates as far as possible in the sanctuary environment.
Tours are conducted daily for visitors, principally in an attempt to raise awareness of the beauty and plight of primates globally. A non-profit organisation known as Touch a Monkeys Heart Foundation is the sole custodian of all the primates at Monkeyland. Ultimately the Foundation’s hope is to release some of the residents back into the wild – a noble and admirable goal.
Visit the MonkeyLand website for further details.
Birds of Eden
This magnificent free flight bird sanctuary, the largest in the world, opened on December 15th, 2005 – emanating largely from the success of The Eden Syndrome at neighbouring Monkeyland. This 2.3 hectare sanctuary comprises a forest gorge and watercourse enclosed by a massive mesh dome. Over 3000 birds, principally from the pet trade, can fly freely (apart from those pinioned individuals), a new experience for many of them! All birds are rehabilitated prior to release into the aviary and bird owners are encouraged to apply for their pet’s release into Birds of Eden. A 1.2 km walkway snakes through the aviary, allowing visitors to take in the magnificent sights and sounds at their own pace.
Both Monkeyland and Birds of Eden have canopy walks where visitors are literally strolling through the tree tops! The aviary also houses those primates too small for Monkeyland, such as tamarinds and bushbabies. Giant fruit bats and tree squirrels also share the forest with the birds.
Visit the Birds of Eden website for more information.
Restaurant facilities are available at both venues.
Tony, never one to sit on his laurels, is currently scouring the globe for an island to create a sanctuary for endangered gorillas and chimpanzees. We are indeed blessed to have such visionaries in our midst.