It's very easy to get to; outside rush hour there are no traffic problems of any kind. My recommendation is to go early because it fills up quite quick and gets terribly crowded (many, many people plus
"over 142 species of birds -- Montecasino Bird Gardens is home to over 1 000 birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and other small creatures"
as the website says -- and you get to feel rather claustrophobic...)
Not only can you get up close and personal with many species of birds (and other goggas*, if you're that way inclined), you can also feed the hummingbirds.
Except, of course, they're not hummingbirds in the South African context (you could have fooled me; they certainly look like the stereotypical hummingbird!), they're sunbirds and they come and eat / drink / slurp sugary liquid from a cup you'll hold in your hand.
There's also bird show twice a day; the one we went to (in the morning) you can actually touch - interact with - some of the birds.
Sadly, they emphasised the apparent sheer stupidity of the owl species - I would have preferred to live in my old fallacious world, where owls are wise and politicians aren't corrupt and don't steal from the people.
They also keep amphibians in a special enclosed area (I'm sure there's some scientific word for it), but if you go during a public holiday or on the weekend, this area could be so crowded that it becomes uncomfortable.
It's worth the trip, particularly considering that these birds have apparently not been captured in the wild, but have been rescued and so on.
In my opinion, it's also a less depressing visit than the bird sanctuary in Hout Bay (sorry, Capies!), which I found dirty, dank and almost completely depressing. (Ed: Last time I was at the Hout Bay Bird Sanctuary my son was 2 and loved every second of it... but it was a bit dark. The owls there are wonderful though, and the monkeys entertain small fry)
Not to worry, though, because once you hear how South Africa's wetlands are being devastated (not "decimated", which means something else entirely - devastated), you may also walk away from the Montecasino Bird Gardens a far more thoughtful person than when you went in.
*goggas = SAfrican for creepy crawlies / insects
(Images: Axel Bührmann. Creative Commons License)
About the blogger
Currently editor of LivDigital Independent News, Axel Buhrmann has been researching, analysing, writing about all matters digital for many years. This includes a ten-year stint as managing editor of both the print and on-line versions of Charged Southern Africa magazine.
Before this, he was South African editor of various Ziff Davies publications, including the renowned PC Magazine, Inter@active Week, as well as ZDNet Online Africa, one of the earliest local on-line news services.
Prior to that, he wrote for traditional media, including The Star and Financial Mail, and also had extensive experience in traditional or old-school ICT and CE public relations.