While walking through the surreal World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary in Hout Bay it’s easy to become overwhelmed.

There’s simply too much to experience.
Admiring crazily colourful parrots, shoe-pecking crows and wing-dragging turkeys alone can take up to two hours – and there are 400 different species there, ranging from birds to mammals and reptiles.

TygerBurger dropped by the biggest bird park in Africa to see if it’s worth the trip and entrance fee. The first of the 100 aviaries on the four hectare sanctuary was enough to make the trip worthwhile (it was filled with nature’s clowns – parrots).
Animal enthusiast and park manager, Hendrik Louw, says with a smile: “We drive north to go visit wine farms, so they should drive out here to experience wildlife in the city.”

He reasons one should make a day trip out of it, because it takes “interested” visitors about three hours to walk through all the enclosures. Photographers should double that and take extra batteries.
Louw continues: “Where else can one picnic with flamingoes? Yet, one of our biggest attractions is the ‘monkey jungle’, which contains 27 monkeys.

“They are so trusting that a mother and her young will literally sit on your shoulder!”
A huge number of animals have been injured in the “wild” and are now recuperating in the park, while others have been purchased or donated to add some variety.
Louw says there was a time when they encouraged breeding, but now it’s solely up to the birds whether they “do it or not”.

One particular story springs to his mind when asked if birds are intelligent: “A long time ago we tried to breed the goffin cockatoo, so we put two in each cage, which were then placed in a long row. But the next day all their enclosures were open.
“This happened for a few nights until we decided to ‘stake’ them out. We saw that once we had closed everything, one of the goffin would stick his foot out and open his latch, and then it would open everybody else’s!”
This well-maintained and intimate park went through a difficult period in 2010 when the number of visitors declined by 20 000. At that stage it owed the bank and suppliers well over a million rand.

Talks of possible closure were, however, nipped in the bud by an anonymous well-wisher when she donated R100 000 into the park’s bank account.
Louw says they phoned all the people with the same surname and then finally found and thanked her.

Her continuous donations since then have ensured that the park will soon boast zero debt, and staying true to a sign by the entrance, will continue to “soar on multi-coloured wings into the vast blue freedom of the beyond”.
Enquiries: World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary, 021 790 2730.

***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE AND PHOTO WERE PUBLISHED IN TYGERBURGER, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. NEITHER MAY BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – TYGERBURGER, MEDIA24.***

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