Today we drove a short distance out of Knysna to Plettenberg to visit the largest free flight aviary and sanctuary in the world containing over 3,500 birds comprising 200 species and covering over 2.3 hectares of indigenous forest and streams covered by a huge canopy of netting of up to 180 feet above ground level. This is a true sanctuary where all of the inhabitants have been rescued from some form of confinement and now live freely in this huge sanctuary. The sanctuary was honored with the Skal International Sustainable Tourism Award as well as the Gold Award in World Responsible Tourism Award in the category of “Best Animal Welfare Initiative”. We could have spent the whole day in this incredible setting and almost did but we had to move on to our next stop. Jan, we thought about you and you would have loved this.
Next stop and next door was Monkeyland, the worlds first free roaming multi-specie primate sanctuary. The area encompasses over 12 hectares of indigenous forest and is home to 11 types of species that have been previously been kept in cages, zoos, as pets or in laboratories and have now been re acclimated to a larger and free moving environment. As with the Bird Sanctuary Monkeyland has been awarded with several prestigious animal welfare awards. We walked about 1.2 km of forest paths with a professional guide who helped to spot and identify the different species of Monkeys.