Safaris are grand adventures and wildlife viewing is always a treat, but those who are short on time or have families travelling along with them, will know that it’s hard to spend hours and hours on a game drive. Which is why visiting wildlife and bird parks are a great choice! These don’t require a massive time commitment, will have a variety of interesting species to learn about, and activities that can be stopped or resumed as required. The following three spots are the top choices to visit when in South Africa.
iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, KwaZulu-Natal
iSimangaliso Wetland Park in KwaZulu-Natal is one of the top UNESCO sites to visit when in South Africa and is well suited to those travelling with young adults. Here, wildlife and bird spotting is available in various formats. Lake St. Lucia is a popular spot to head to as it is visited by numerous wildlife species, including crocodiles and hippos. It’s also a bird lovers paradise with more than 530 different bird species that can be spotted year-round in the area.
Wildlife lovers will enjoy the chance to roam further afield and do trips into the forest and grasslands as it will give them the chance to see free-roaming wildlife such as giraffes, leopards, and even wild dogs and learn interesting facts about them. There are also protected coastal areas within iSimangaliso, where visitors have the opportunities to go snorkeling, kayaking, and take boat trips into the heart of the wetlands.
Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary, Plettenberg Bay
The fierce apex predators housed at Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary make it a must-see if you’re along the Garden Route. Lions, tigers, and carnivorous cats of all sizes, including Bengal tigers, roam in their enclosures and they’re fascinating to see while you learn more about them. While here, you can also pop across to the uniquely enjoyable Plett Puzzle Park and have an active, busy time. When booking your Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary tickets, it’s recommended that you get discounted combination tickets to visit the nearby Birds of Eden Free Flight Sanctuary and Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary as well.
Montecasino Bird Gardens, Johannesburg
Set within the famous Montecasino complex that is known for a Vegas-styled casino that offers a selection of slots machines that rivals the range of online slots and an abundance of card tables, you will also discover the hidden beauty of the Montecasino Bird Gardens. Some top bird species to spot include scarlet ibis’, flamingos, and Nicobar pigeons though with over 1,000 different birds in 60 different species found in the various aviaries, you won’t have a chance to be bored.
The Flights of Fantasy bird shows are memorable, as are the sweet antelopes which wander on the grounds. Apart from a host of beautiful birds and daily shows from them, there are also opportunities to see amphibians and reptiles, as well as sloths and lemurs, within the complex. There are also specific areas such as the cycad gardens, the parrot gallery, and the frog room, to visit. This is an ideal option for all ages.
Each of these incredible wildlife and bird viewing adventures will leave plenty of lasting memories for the whole family.