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4 Unique, once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experiences

  • Thursday, 10 October 2019
  • Linda Chivell

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It’s true; Africa offers some of the most thrilling wildlife experiences on the planet. However, along with traditional safari wildlife encounters, there’s a whole host of unbelievable destinations and wildlife encounters you might never have thought about

Imagine elephants grazing at the doorstep and a backdrop of dense mountain thicket, or the mating calls of monkeys. It is now an option whilst staying at an affordable, luxury bed & breakfast or self-catering accommodation options in The Crags, outside Plettenberg Bay for tourists visiting the Garden Route region. 

This stylishly furnished, luxury guest house borders a malaria-free Elephant Sanctuary a popular attraction for international travellers and a convenient retreat for locals. Enjoy the magnificence of untouched nature in the comfort of a private guest accommodation

From the extraordinary “Big cats” with their dangerous beauty to the birds in a free-flight aviary, and personal interactions with African elephants, consider the following as being among the ultimate experiences for all wildlife lovers.

However, your sensational discoveries wouldn’t be complete without witnessing unique sunsets and the hospitality and friendliness the Elephants Country Guest House, centrally located close to these 4unique, once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experiences.

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Lawnswood Snakes

SNAKES OF AFRICA

They offer hourly informative, interactive tours for any ages with over 100 snakes and other reptiles to see. Open daily 9 am – 5 pm. They cater to the snake phobic to the snake lover!!!

The park specialises in educating our visitors on common snakes encountered and the myths surrounding them and over the years the park has homed a variety of exotic unwanted reptiles.

Join them for a one hour guided tour consisting of an indigenous snake pit, various outdoor exhibits, a large dome housing South African and exotic snakes, following by enormous pythons, monitor lizards and crocodiles. For the tour, be sure to bring a camera and comfortable walking shoes.

Enjoy a forest walk, tranquil picnic spots and interacting with our various other creatures. For the less adventurous, relax at the tea room or explore the curio shop.

Lawnwood is an animal and child-friendly place, besides the variety of reptiles, there are also farm animals as well as the moody pot-bellied pig

http://www.lawnwoodsnakesanctuary.co.za

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A TRUE PRIMATE SANCTUARY

Monkeyland is the worlds first free-roaming multi-species primate sanctuary.

They presently house 18 different species of primates with 11 being free roaming in the main 12-hectare Monkeyland forest while another 7 species are in large cages within in the main forest or call Birds of Eden their home.

We offer tours (monkey safaris) where guests can view the 700+ resident primates in their forest home, there is also a restaurant, souvenir store and viewing deck, and a 128 metre suspended canopy walk. Monkeyland’s safari guides are multi-lingual, languages spoken include German, Dutch, French and Spanish. 

On the guided safaris, you can expect to see a variety of primates, ranging from the Gibbons of Asia to the Lemurs of Madagascar. More than 700 primates live at the sanctuary. During the guided tours, knowledgeable rangers will tell you all about the fascinating primates as you encounter them.

https://www.monkeyland.co.za/

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A TRUE FREE FLIGHT BIRD SANCTUARY

Birds of Eden's unique two-hectare dome (the worlds largest) spans over a gorge of indigenous forest. Currently, it is home to over 3,500 birds from over 220 species, with the main focus being African birds. The feathered inhabitants of the aviary are comprised of a mixture of exotic, as well as African birds.

This award-winning bird sanctuary provides a forever home where previously caged birds can live a life of free-flight in a habitat as large and natural as is possible.

Birds of Eden is the world’s largest free-flight bird aviary (50 metres high, covering 23 000 square meters of forest). The dome covers 2 km of boardwalks, an amphitheatre (maximum audience: 200), a restaurant, several ponds and dams and a souvenir store. Visits to Birds of Eden are usually self-guided, however, guided walks are offered on request. Birds of Eden is the only Fairtrade accredited bird sanctuary in South Africa.

https://www.birdsofeden.co.za

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WHERE BIG CATS FEEL AT HOME

Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary is home to big cats such as lions (white and tawny), cheetahs, tigers (Siberian, Bengal and white), leopard (spotted and black), jaguar, pumas, caracal, serval cats and other wildlife species such as zebra, wild dog, springbuck, zorilla, honey badger, raccoons and various snake species (which are housed separately).

 “Big cats” are extraordinary animals with a dangerous beauty that is both awe-inspiring but also fearsome because of their power and ability to kill.

Visiting Jukani is not just about viewing predator cats - it is also an informative experience. On tour, you are guided through the sanctuary by one of our highly skilled and very motivated guides who will not only give you an insight into all the animals at Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary but enable you to gain a better understanding of these creatures in the wild

Tours take place from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm every day of the week, including Sundays. Jukani is open on all public holidays including Christmas and New Years days in all weather conditions. Tours depart every 15 to 20 minutes as clients arrive. All tours depart from the Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary reception area and they last around one and a half hours.

https://www.jukani.co.za/

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AN ELEPHANT EXPERIENCE FOR LIFE

Directly adjacent to Monkeyland and the Birds of Eden sanctuaries in Plettenberg Bay, The Elephant Sanctuary hosts a unique and fully guided educational program that sets itself apart from anything else that South Africa has on offer in terms of elephant interaction. Guest numbers are strictly limited to ensure personal attention and maximum elephant interaction for each guest, making this a memorable and enriching experience.

Visitors can learn more about elephant habits, behaviour, different personalities and anatomy through up-close and personal interaction. You get an opportunity to touch, feed and even walk trunk-in-hand with these magnificent animals.

The Elephant Sanctuary provides a “halfway house” for young African elephants in need of a temporary home. It is the only operation in South Africa that provides for elephants in this way. Elephants are released into an environment where they can be more independent once they are older and no longer require special care.

It is easy to notice the special relationship that the elephant handlers share with their elephants and become a part of it.

You will see the stables where the elephants sleep at night, learn about elephant anatomy and can feed them. On some hot or rainy days, you may even see the elephants swimming!

The Elephant Sanctuary offers different tour options, with tour times varying according to the tour, starting from 8 am every morning.

Notes: The venue, including the bathrooms, is wheelchair friendly and there are wheelchairs available for guests’ use. 

Visit the well-stocked curio shop which offers free tea, coffee, water and juice to all guests and a kiddies play area.

https://www.plettenbergbay.elephantsanctuary.co.za/

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