Pop on down to animal town
There’s never a dull moment in Plettenberg Bay! Plett is one of the finest destinations when it comes to flora and fauna. As ice cream and hot fudge sauce go together, so it is when it comes to travel and wildlife adventures. As far as entertaining our young visitors, Plett has you well covered. So, get out that notebook, take down some handy info below…
Nothing impresses and captivates the imaginations of little ones quite like a cat with attitude. At Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary in the Crags, your children will meet the coolest cats out there! Open every day, Jukani boasts some seriously big kitties. Cheetah, zorille, tawny lion, white tiger, Siberian tiger, Bengal tiger, white lion, leopard, jaguar, caracal, serval and puma make up the big cat selection. Then for good measure expect to see raccoon, honey badger, hyena and zebra!
Oh yes, you get your money’s worth right here and afterward you can treat the little explorers to nearby Puzzle Park Café that serves cold drinks, coffee and tea, yummy cakes, light lunches and snacks, and the curio shop is well stocked with mementos of your visit.
Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary is heaven for little people. Where else can you touch and see the largest snakes known to man and get to grips with a crocodile or six? Yup, it’s icky nirvana people. Keep the little ones entertained for a one-hour guided tour consisting of an indigenous snake pit, various outdoor exhibits, a large dome housing South African and exotic snakes, followed by enormous pythons, monitor lizards and crocodiles. Fabulous stuff!
Next door awaits oodles of monkey business at the iconic Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary, the world’s first free roaming multi-species primate sanctuary. With all these cute little critters around, your kids are bound to go ape with excitement. From the Gibbons of Asia to the Lemurs of Madagascar, more than 700 primates live at the sanctuary and none of them are in cages. Wow! Obviously, the temptation to dish out hugs will be huge but please note that it’s a strictly no-touch zone here. The star-studded line up of primates includes the Black and White Ruffed Lemur and the Ringtail Lemur, the Langur and the Hanuman Langur, Black Howler Monkey, Bolivian Squirrel Monkey, Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey, Tufter or Brown Capuchin, Red-backed Bearded Saki, Vervet Monkey and Monkeyland’s only ape species the White Handed or Lar Gibbon. There you have it, the key ingredients for a super day out, all in one place.
Yes, you guessed it…next door you’ll find yet more fun. Birds of Eden is a world class, free flight aviary. Home to about 3500 or more birds, the sanctuary is home to 220 species of our fine feathered friends. Some exotic, some local, some friendly and some down-right rude, the birds are beautiful and interesting all at the same time. Crane, flamingo, duck and geese, along with parrots, 215 other species as mentioned already, are there for beautiful selfies, oohh’s and ahhh’s.
For an exciting two-hour game drive, visit the Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve. The kids will be thrilled to see the Big 5 and other unusual animals. Experienced game rangers, well versed in capturing the imagination of little ones, will regale them with tails from the bush while you can sit back and enjoy the views. If your kids are proficient riders, you may even consider a safari on horseback. Nothing like the wind through your hair and the smells of the bush in your nostrils to get a few holiday memories cemented in your psyche. It’s all great fun!
At Giraffe View Safari Camp, you and the family can enjoy a leisurely game walk through the brush of the park. Owner, Neil, has been teaching survival training to both school groups and adult courses for the past five years. Faraway from the comfort and facilities of the lodge, out in the indigenous bush he hosts practical survival courses, team building/orienteering courses and bushcraft/skills courses from one day to overnights. Now that’s an idea! Survivor! Well, sort of. The kids will love it.
To meet feathered friends with a little more attitude, visit Radical Raptors near Harkerville. Get ready for flying displays that will have the little one completely enraptured – pun so intended! A variety of trained non-releasable birds of prey are free flown around and you have an opportunity to spectate, participate and photograph these magnificent birds in their natural surroundings. At the Owl Shop you can buy the kids Dream Catchers that are hand made on site and crafted into works of art. Each one is unique and paired with feathers that have been naturally dropped by the resident birds. All proceeds go towards their rehabilitation centre. It’s a hoot!
Whilst you’re in the neighbourhood, pop next door to the Garden Route Wolf Sanctuary for an experience with a couple of large Canidae. Meet the wolves, wolf dogs and huskies that call those sanctuary home and learn some interesting facts on these intriguing creatures. And to make this experience even more fun, the kids can meet a few farm animals to boot, including a lama! Now that’s a one stop shop with furry creatures if ever there was such a thing. Get your howl on!
Further down the N2, you will find the popular Knysna Elephant Park, a temporary refuge to orphaned and displaced elephants and a permanent home for others. It’s a wonderful opportunity to educate your children first-hand about our largest land animal and the importance of eco-tourism. The park offers a couple of different options to experience the majesty of these animals; you can feed them a snack and even take them for a stroll. You can also opt fora picnic or sundowners at the park. They are also the only place in the world where you can have an elephant slumber party.