The Three Sanctuary Pass: Jukani Wildlife, Monkeyland and Birds of Eden is the best way to learn about wild animals in an environment that protects them. The three sanctuaries are in The Crags area and form the South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance (SAASA). They are award-winning sanctuaries (winning ‘Best Animal Welfare Initiative’) and should definitely be visited at least once. The sanctuaries promote Responsible Tourism.
All three sanctuaries follow the campaign #HandsOffOurWildlife. This means there are no touch encounters with any animals at any of the sanctuaries. Photos and videos are permitted. This protects the animals from unethical practices and fosters conservation practices.
The first sanctuary that we visited was Jukani Wildlife “where rescued Big Cats feel at home”. Jukani offers guided tours that promote conservation education. All female big cats are on birth control to stop breeding in captivity. The sanctuary funds itself through eco-tourism so your support will go a long way in helping to promote education and responsible tourism.
The tour was extremely informative (seriously, it was one of the best wildlife tours we have had). Our guide was fantastic and the knowledge we gained from our 1h30 tour was unbelievable! You will see and learn about lions, cheetahs, leopards, tigers, hyena, puma, jaguar, caracal and more.
Monkeyland is a primate sanctuary and was an experience in itself. This sanctuary is the first multispecies primate sanctuary in the world. There are eight monkey species, two ape species and two lemur species (if we remember correctly) and the guide provides information about the different species as you encounter them.
It’s an hour guided tour through an enclosed forest. The primates are free-roaming, allowing them to be safe and free in a natural habitat. There are food stations in the sanctuary which guarantee sightings of the little troublemakers. Within the forest are cages where new primates are kept to get used to the environment before being released.
We were told stories of the monkeys stealing cellphones and sunglasses (don’t have loose items and hold onto your cell phone!), as well as ‘prison breaks’ happening at the introduction enclosures. Our guide told us of a monkey troop breaking the door of one of the cages because they had made friends with the new guy! They are smart critters.
Birds of Eden
Birds of Eden truly lives up to its name – it’s what Eden could be! The sanctuary is exquisite. There are more than 220 bird types and over 3500 birds in the Sanctuary. Look out for the beautiful Knysna Loerie.
This tour was self-guided so you can spend as much time as you want to with the birds. You walk through the sanctuary on a wooden boardwalk. There are streams and waterfalls and misters creating tropical rainforest sections. There are feeding stations along the boardwalk to allow you to get close to the birds (without touching them). There are also ponds in the sanctuary for flamingos and ducks.
Experiences not to be missed!
We really enjoyed our day at the three sanctuaries and we think you will too. You can buy a day ticket pass for one of the sanctuaries, or two of your choice, or all three sanctuaries. You can book a tour at the sanctuaries by clicking on this link.
There are coffee shops at each of the sanctuaries. The Jukani coffee shop is out in a garden setting, you will pass through the Monkeyland coffee shop to reach the forest for your tour, and the Birds of Eden coffee shop is next to the lake near the end of your walk through the sanctuary. There are also curio shops at each sanctuary for you to get a memento of your trip.
Next to Jukani Wildlife is a life-size wooden 3D Maze. We have done the maze before and it’s great fun to figure out how to get out. Read more about the Plett Puzzle Park here.
Looking for a place to stay? Read our previous post on the Treehouse Cottage in The Crags. Have you been to one or all of the sanctuaries? Let us know your experiences in the comments.
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