Plettenberg Bay, or Plett as the locals refer to it, is undoubtedly the “jewel” of the Garden Route. Ultimately known for its beautiful beaches and even being named as Africa’s “best beach destination”, Plett is the place where the locals like to hang out over their holiday season.
As a family, we were no different to thousands of other Capetonians who have spent wonderful holidays in this seaside village. Each year though, we would always drag ourselves away from the beach for at least one day and go do something “different”.
These are my recent TWO “finds” – they are not necessarily new activities, which makes it rather easy to perhaps bypass them – take my advice, take the morning off from the beach to walk through a “real” Garden of Eden and then relax in the vineyards with tapas and bubbles – Priceless!
We planned to spend about an hour here, in the end, we were there for nearly 3 hours and I could have easily spent more time in this amazing Sanctuary.
Birds of Eden is not just any old aviary, it is the largest free-flight multi-species bird dome/aviary in the world – home to approximately 3000 birds. It’s HUGE, covering an area of 2, 1761 hectares (21.761 square metres and 375.372 cubic meters). The heights of the dome vary from 2 – 34 meters so plenty of room for those lucky birds to enjoy their lives in a completely safe haven. The wire mesh covers an area of 3.2 hectares and originally weighed 80 tones when it was built in 2005. This was replaced in 2012 and the new stainless steel mesh weighs a mere 8 tones – an interesting fact is that there is enough wire in the mesh to go more than half way round the earth!
In addition to the amazing birds the Sanctuary has some very special features which make it really unique. 70% of the area under the dome is indigenous forest. It does not feel like you are in an enclosure at all, especially as there is a mist system which simulates being in a rainforest – how cool is that?
There is a river that runs right through the Park in a natural lung so there is no pollution from any other water source. There is even a waterfall which you can walk behind, just like a real forest. The walkways and bridges are beautiful with strategically placed benches to sit on and just take it all in.
But, be careful you don’t doze off in these tranquil surroundings. Before you know it, a Hornbill or a Knysna Lourie or Green Turaco or one of the many different species of Cockatoo, or perhaps a Parakeet or a Macaw or a cute little Black-cheeked Lovebird will come and perch right next to you, almost as if YOU are the species they are checking out…..
I loved the dam area where there is a restaurant – here you can sit for hours watching all the different species of Ducks, Cormorants, Scarlet Ibis, African Spoonbills, gorgeous Caribbean Flamingos and Swans, even geese!
Do not miss this attraction and don’t forget your camera, I took about 300 photos
A couple of friends had mentioned the restaurant at Bramon Wine Estate but, we live in Cape Town and have so many wineries within a stone’s throw from us, it seemed silly to want to visit a wine estate in Plett – but, then I heard that they make a rather good bubbly and to entice me still further, I heard they served tapas…I cannot resist bubbles and tapas.
The winery is closeby to the Birds of Eden but if you are travelling from Plett, it’s just off the N2 about 18kms or so going east or towards Port Elizabeth. The Tasting Room is visible from the highway and the restaurant a bit further down the road.
On arriving at the restaurant, it looks quite ordinary, but when you walk through the doors and see the view from the other side, it becomes very special, a real “find”.
Make sure you book early and try to get one of the tables that sit right in the Vineyard.
The views overlooking the Tsitsikamma Mountains are spectacular. Anton Smal, the winemaker joined us for lunch too which made it rather special – my hubby is in the wine industry so I am always lucky enough to meet the men behind the wines.
We were soon sipping their award winning Methode Cap Classique sparkling wine and eating the delicious homemade bread. There was much discussion about the menu and what tapas to order. In the end, every plate was delicious, beautifully presented and thoroughly enjoyed.
If you are in the Plettenberg Bay area at any time, make a booking here, the food is superb, the wine delicious and the surroundings spectacular – definitely not something I expected on my “seaside” holiday.
Have you visited Bramon Wines or the Birds of Eden?