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SMALLER SPLENDORS

SMALLER SPLENDORS

There are a few more opportunities to experience the beauty of South African wildlife away from the must see Big 5, penguins and seals. Being out of the usual tourist routes the extended holiday period is a great time to try something different.

Flamingos and other rare birds

Langebaan Lagoon was proclaimed a Ramsar (Wetlands of International Importance) site in 1988 – a wetland recognised and protected by the international Ramsar Convention as being of great importance to birdlife. The most southern end of the lagoon is out of bounds for any activity at all in an effort to protect the rare waterbirds in the area. Birding enthusiasts will have plenty to see all around the shores of the lagoon – there are flocks of flamingos, rare oyster catchers, gulls, terns and many other waders and waterbirds. Schaapen Island, opposite the Main Beach, is home to the biggest colony of kelp gulls in the country. Apart from the waterbirds, there are many interesting birds in the surrounding veld – a real birdwatchers’ paradise. You can drive through the nature reserve at the southern end of Langebaan and see many of the waterbirds at the birdhides at Geelbek and Oude Pos and other spots in the West Coast National Park.

Not just a crocodile pond

Le Bonheur Reptiles and Adventures, located between Paarl & Stellenbosch, offers crocodile and reptile encounters to all ages.

Crocodile tours with an expert guide will show you around a captive-bred bask of more than 200 crocs, ranging from hatchlings to adults. You’ll walk on ramp ways spanning four large dams, all the while learning more about Africa’s largest reptile. You will even get a chance to view these fascinating predators in their underwater environment from our viewing cabin.

The indoor, self-guided ‘Snakes in Transit’ snake exhibition features an impressive collection of local and foreign snakes. The snakes are housed in roomy enclosures fronted with safety glass. The clearly-signposted snake exhibition includes loads of information about the scaled brethren. On Saturdays (12:10 only), Sundays (12:10 and 15:10) and public holidays (12:10 and 15:10), experienced snake handler puts on an interactive snake show where you’ll learn to appreciate these oft-misunderstood creatures.

Take things to the next level with a crocodile cage diving experience by sharing a pond with half a dozen adult Nile crocs. Facilitated by African Croc Dive, crocodile cage diving is a thrilling close encounter that includes a safety briefing and all diving equipment. It takes place in a sturdy and spacious steel cage that’s surrounded by water on all sides. You’ll spend around 20 minutes in the crocs’ watery habitat and will get to see them both feeding and resting. The crocodile cage diving experience is both underwater and at surface level.

Ostrich – the big bird

Big ostrich flocks can be viewed and either at the Cape Town Ostrich Ranch along the R27, north of the city or at the Cape Town Ostrich Farm in the south, close to the Cape of Good Hope (Cape Point National Park) entrance.

At the ranch you can ride & feed them, try to balance on an ostrich egg and also meet some crocodiles, tortoises, peacocks and cheetahs.

At the south, being a productive breeding farm, everything is done to comfort and accommodate the 40 breeding birds. They live in 40 camps and ensure that there are always plenty of ostrich eggs to be incubated. During the breeding season, quite often you will be able to experience the hatching of our ostrich chicks.

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