Montecasino Bird Gardens

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If you’re ever in Johannesburg, South Africa, and looking for an all-round entertainment experience, Montecasino is pretty hard to beat. A gorgeous faux-Italian-villa complex, it’s home to a big casino (of zero interest to Ninja and I), tons of stores, fancy hotels and a beautiful bird park, among other attractions.

An entrance to Montecasino

I’ve always enjoyed Monte because the special architecture makes me feel like I’m somewhere in Europe for a while, rather than just in a mall in the middle of boring old Jo’burg 😉 This weekend was our first trip to the bird gardens section of Monte. And wow, what a treat! Here are a few of the pics from our day out…

A tower at Monte

Another side of Monte

You’d never say this building just houses a carpark!

The amphitheatre for the bird shows

So much for the beautiful buildings. Here are some birdie pics I snapped on the day… helping towards Goal #75 on my list, namely: Take photos of 101 different birds.

South Africa’s national bird: the blue crane

A stunning blue-bellied roller

Blue-winged kookaburra

A crow picking up litter as part of the bird show

Ninja fed nectar to this blazing beauty: a green-naped lorikeet

Guira cuckoo

Even more beautiful than the usual toucan: a keel-billed toucan

Macaw kisses

Cheeky macaw: a beauty and a beast!

Saddle-billed stork

A striking scarlet ibis

A note about my kind of birdwatching: It’s exciting for Ninja and I to add such a variety of birds to our ‘lifelong bird list’. We’ve never claimed to be professional birders, nor do we aspire to be. If we want to list a keel-billed toucan on our ‘spotted’ birding list, we will – just because we’ve seen it in captivity doesn’t mean we haven’t seen it! Heaven forbid we turn our casual hobby into a fuddy-duddy set of rules. We birdwatch because we admire God’s creation, not because we have anything to prove. I’ve got nothing against the professionals, but really guys, there’s no need to roll your eyes at us for not only listing birds we’ve spotted in the wild. The odds of us ever seeing something like a toucan in the wild are less than nil, but we’re glad to have seen one at all.

Just thought I’d mention that…

Anyway, another cute bird we interacted with was an overfriendly hadeda ibis that followed us around and ‘nibbled’ with its beak at our fingers and toes 😀

The friendly hadeda

Hadeda gently nibbling my foot!

Sweet little birdie

Montecasino Bird Gardens also showcase a few other creatures, including sloths, lemurs, duiker and meerkats. Ninja was tall enough to reach over the top of the meerkat enclosure and capture this super image of one of the sentinels:

Meerkat: all whiskers

So if you find yourself in this city with time on your hands, the Monte Bird Gardens offer one great way to spend it!

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6 responses »

  1. Pingback: What do you collect? | Sunshine Scrapbook

    • I wish I’d taken pics of what the mall section looks like indoors, too: the shops are in buildings that make it look like a little villa… the floors are cobblestone… the ceiling is painted like a blue sky with clouds… and the restaurants are laid out like sidewalk cafés, complete with fake pigeons on the windowsills! It’s quite an otherworldly experience all round 🙂

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