Treading amongst nature’s most cute, smelly, noisy creations is always a treat. Our visit to the World of Birds in Hout Bay was no less than a beautiful treat. Although at times, an attack on the senses.
We visited on a Sunday afternoon. The World of Birds is a Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park. At the World of Birds, they boast a wide variety of animals. Our favourite spotting was the Peregrine Falcon. Arsalan is obsessed with its title as the fastest bird on earth.
Arwa loved the ice cream and yummy goods from the Hornbill Café. Moreover, Mo thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the monkeys and having dried seeds and nuts thrown in his hair as treats for them. That was not for me. I loved photographing and capturing the birds and animals up close. If looked at deeply enough, they each have such a story to tell. You will see it when you look within the depths of their eyes and tell-tale signs on their bodies and reactions.
The two play areas were a little run down and needed tender loving care. And there was much to see that the children didn’t even ask to go to the play areas. But the animals are the priority.
Let’s flesh all these out below…
Are you ready?
Let us get the logistics and essential things out of the way regarding a visit to the world of birds
You will find the World of Birds on Valley Road, Hout Bay. World of birds operates from 9:00 to 17:00, accepting the last entry at 16:00. Take it from me that an hour cannot afford you enough time to enjoy everything. It will cost you R130 per adult and R50 per child. Consequently, they’re open all year round. That is just fantastic.
You do not have to book in advance, so walk-ins are most welcome.
Membership options and school bookings and outings are available on the site here.
Of course, we all know that these sanctuaries caring for many birds and animals doing this work need funds coming in regularly. Our visit to the World of Birds was once off. And we are looking into the membership options for next year.
The upkeep of such a large sanctuary and space to offer the best possible experience and care for the animals in their guardianship costs a lot.
Having a membership with them allows for that. It will enable them to budget efficiently for the year and know what and how they need to work those finances to keep running.
Food when you visit the World of Birds
DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS.
But definitely feed yourself on your visit to the World of Birds. The lovely Hornbill Café operates within the park. They have halal pie options, muffins and delicious snacks.
Their hot meals menu is not halal. They are reasonably priced depending on your financial structure, of course.
Their prices certainly do not reach those heights of other inner park food services in that elaborate pricing range. We had pies, chips and the most delicious muffin pictured below.
You are welcome to carry your own food and eat at the tables and seating areas provided. That is a significant saving. Pies aren’t for everyone, and having some packed sandwiches for the kids will be a good idea (If Muslim and because pies are the only hot food that’s halal there).
Their hot food menu offers quite a variety if you do not wish to carry food for those who do not have halaal restrictions.
The play areas for children’s added entertainment at World of Birds
The play area close to the toilets has a couple of swings and seesaws. It is small, and if there are more than five children, it will feel overcrowded. It provides a nice stop-by and plays whilst everyone waits for someone else to relieve themselves.
The other sand pit play area, situated next to the café, offers many sandpit toys and a few play equipment structures.
I don’t know what the sand quality upkeep is, it is an animal sanctuary and bugs and creepy crawlies come as part of the package.
I am sure these spaces will always appreciate donations of toys, equipment or volunteers to clean up these areas and make them friendlier for the kid customer.
You can contact them here to find out how you can give back in this way.
Now, let’s get into the real reason for our visit to the world of birds
The beautiful birds – The aviaries
The owls, an absolute favourite of mine, always. There is an area where you can walk amongst them without separating fences. It was such a beautiful encounter. As a result of that encounter, we ventured into more enclosures where there were no separations. It was thrilling for the children and Mo.
If jittery and jumpy had a name, it would be Ferhensha. Ha-ha. I loved it, but I was so cautious. If you are like me, hold someone’s hand, be brave and remember they’re more afraid of you than you are of them.
You can also choose not to walk through some, but there is a long route where once you enter, you have to keep going. The animal carers always walk around, so there will always be a helping hand if need be.
Please be mindful that you are entering their space and doing it at your own risk. These are wild animals and not pets.
Adhere to the warnings and do not touch the animals or birds. That is not just a risk for you; you are also risking the animals. If they naturally sort you out and you, in turn, hurt them by self-defence, it is unnecessary. So just don’t.
The scents are strong. They will not take offence if you cover up your nose rather than upchuck your meal in their space. The flamingo smell will make you want to upchuck there and then.
The paths are easy to navigate, and with a bit of difficulty, one can push a stroller around. It will be a bumpy ride. But it is advised with little ones, whose legs may tire quickly and with parents whose arms suffer the same fate. Like mine…
Clearly, that tells you there is a lot of walking required.
Give yourself time to relax, view the animals in peace, grab a bite, and chill around watching the birds and monkeys.
What else can we see at the World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary?
The feisty and gorgeous African Serval can be viewed in their enclosure. There’s a reptile house with a powerful, musty smell with a limited amount of reptiles and snakes.
There are a few little mammals and a Dinosaur descendant. Oooooo!
You can also find a couple of tortoises and some meerkats.
Whilst walking around, there will be regular encounters with the human species. Some of them are friendly and will smile at you or engage in conversation, and others look like they may bite you.
Sounds we heard during our visit to the World of Birds
An encounter with the boisterous, loud male peacocks that run around and rile up the monkeys will be heard. You will listen to all the big birds nesting above the fences overhead.
Screaming children and adults screeching are familiar sounds to listen out for.
Then there are the parents with the “don’t be scared “what are you scared of?” “Nothing will harm you” kind of replies and requests.
Don’t say those things. If someone is already scared, those things aren’t going to miraculously make them feel better and brave. It also negates their actual feelings and may cause them to desensitise to their own warning system.
I didn’t want to participate in the encounters with the monkeys then, and I had to give Mo a talking-to.
He decided to play on the FOMO train and tell me how much I was missing out on. So I just modelled what I would rather hear.
Respect boundaries and encourage without belittling someone’s feelings and emotional state in the now. Yes, someone is children too.
I can encourage my children to experience something I do not want to. I can model saying no and holding those boundaries and still being involved. They will learn not to give in to peer pressure in that way too.
What we can do instead:
- Offer support: Would you like me to carry you through this part? Would you like to walk close behind me? Can we hold hands?
- You can skip this section, and I can take some pics for you to see when we come out. We can take turns standing with you here if you don’t want to go through it.
- I hear you’re scared and you really want to enjoy this experience. What can we do to make it easier for you?
- Validate: This can be a scary experience with all the sounds and open animals. It is okay to be scared and want to really see everything.
- You can still do things scared.
- Let’s take some deep breaths to calm our hearts before we go further.
- Don’t lie. There were spiders everywhere, and a child started crying because they heard that; consequently, the child was told that there weren’t any spiders and to stop crying. (Parents can be embarrassed and then quickly react from that space, which I can totally empathise with.) I would offer comfort and connection. There are spiders, and I can hold you through the whole spider section. I can go check where they are for you, and we can discuss how we can get through them together. Just hold the space for the cry to finish and talk when calmed down. Putting this jacket over our heads will protect us from any spiders as we walk through because they are overhead.
This is not exhaustive, and just a few ways are nice to consider if it fits your family dynamic and space holding for anyone you’re with.
- Jokingly scare other people – (Mo has this mischief, which he is getting so good at not doing)
- Jokingly scare children
- Interfere with others dealing with their children and families. (They know best for their own families unless it is harmful, then follow the proper channels, of course, that goes without saying when talking about these things.)
- Touch the animals
- Feed the animals
- Scream and shout
- Scare the animals
- Tease the animals
- Do silly things to elicit responses from the animals
- Be disrespectful to the carers.
- Leave food around
- Use flash photography
- Run around recklessly
- Put any limbs against or in enclosure fences
To conclude our visit to the World of Birds.
It took us about 4 hours to look around and sit to eat, which needed more time. The monkey encounters and feedings have specific time slots. And they only take in a few people in a group for a few minutes within those time slots. Check out the time slots here.
You can find all the details on their up-to-date website.
All images are mine and subject to copyright. Check out the Hornbill Café Instagram page for details from their café.
Find my previous blogs and reviews here. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you wish to work with me, have me visit or review something for you.
As always, In love and truth,