June 11, 2011

A Bird Resembling Grandpa and a Crow Picking up Garbage

Since we're booked for the rest of the year with visitors, I figured I might as well enlist them in my quest for completing and enhancing my "What To Do in Joburg" post. This is how I recently ended up at the Montecasino Bird Gardens.

It is actually a very nice park, conveniently located close to where most expats live and part of the Montecasino complex, where you can shop, dine, gamble, watch movies, visit the theater, listen to comedy, even go up for a balloon ride (I'll be writing more about the "Monte" in a different post).

If you like to take photographs, the Bird Gardens are a great place for some colorful shots, and the bird show that's on twice a day is very entertaining. They also offer kids' birthday party packages.

This is the Marabu Stork

Doesn't he resemble Grandpa?

I loved all the colorful birds, like the macaws, cockatoos, and lorikeets. And it seems the lorikeets liked my hair! It actually also liked my teeth, which is when I had enough.

The bird show is done in this amphitheater and features Grandpa (the Marabu Stork who, it turns out, is quite a smart bird) from above, as well as a blue crane (South Africa's national bird), a vulture, an owl, a toucan, and an assortment of different birds of prey.

It also features this crow who is trained to pick up garbage. I wonder if I could get myself one of those and train it to clean out the cat's litter box?

All in all, a very nice family outing that doesn't take too long. And you could finish off your visit by having a coffee or lunch on the Piazza next door or at the Palazzo Hotel.

This article is part of Joburg Expat's What To Do in Joburg series. 


uhooi said...

Very nice this blog!
visit our blog at http://uhooi.blogspot.com/

Martina said...


I came across your blog as I will soon be joining your ranks as a Joburg expat! Your site is great and so informative on the "real deal" - thanks so much for it all!

Your photographs are stunning and I wondered if you could tell me what camera that you use?

Sine said...

It's a Canon EOS Rebel XSi with a tele lens. If you're not into photography now, it's something to consider when moving here. There are so many nice opportunities to take pictures of wildlife and landscape, as well as an offer of affordable classes and photo safaris, so you just might start a new hobby! Or maybe you're already a photographer, then you will love it here. I knew nothing about it until we moved, but now it has become a wonderful way to help chronicle our stay here, and our lives in general.

Sine said...

By the way, where are you moving? Kids, school? Good luck with everything.

Martina said...

I have the Canon 400d which I think might be the EU version of your camera! You must have a much better lens than me....we just use the one that came with it and obviously need to upgrade! I'm definitely interested in learning more about photography - I found Bing's site through yours and her pictures are stunning!

My OH is moving end of Aug and I will follow 1 or 2 months after. No kids, just bringing our 2 cats! Exciting by nerve racking. Thankfully you have been a fountain of knowledge for us :-)

Sine said...

My lens is the Canon EFS 55-250 with Image Stabilizer and I'm very happy with it. We also have the Canon 400 mm lens (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00007GQLS)which is very nice but a bit heavy, so I don't lug it around on a daily basis. Plus, you'd have to go too far away in places like the bird gardens. It's great for game drives (where you sit in a truck and don't have to carry it while walking) and it would have come in handy for our recent bungy jumping adventure (not me, I'd never do that in a million years, but my son, and I was a bit far away for good pictures without the strong lens).

And yes, Bing is a great photographer, I always try to "steal" some good ideas from her. The guy who does the photo safaris here is Colin Mead, you can probably look him up online or find his booth at the Bryanston organic market Thursdays and Saturday mornings once you are here. I'd definitely invest in one of those, they are great fun and you learn a ton about photography.

Good luck!

Martina said...

Thanks for the tip - I shall definitely look Colin up when I get there!

W. A. Jeffrey said...

Great photos! This place is definitely on my list of places to visit. Photography is a lot of fun but I would be worried about cameras getting stolen.

Sine said...

never had an issue with cameras stolen, or even heard about it from my many photographer friends, even though we all spent much time taking pictures in townships and perhaps even handing our camera to kids who were curious and wanted to take pictures of us for a change. No one ever ran off with a camera, though it could have easily been done.