Lizards, Owls and Eagle Encounters

Life has been busy lately so I’ve really struggled to find the time to sit down for a proper catch up on my blog. But we’ve been having lots of mini adventures as a family, so I thought I’d share a recent one with you.


One of our favourite outings since we moved to the Helderberg is to visit Eagle Encounters. It’s just down the road from us so super convenient and the girls absolutely love going there, so it’s often an option when we just feel like getting out the house, but don’t feel like going too far.

It’s a pure delight to go there with the twins, and no matter how many times we go, they always run around with squeals of delight at seeing all the weird and wonderful creatures. The chatter and comments that follow are so entertaining, and IP and I walk around there with a permanent grin on our face at watching the two of them in their element.

Located on the grounds of the Spier Wine Farm on Baden Powell Drive outside Stellenbosch, Eagle Encounters is a rehabilitation and conservation centre dealing with injured birds of prey. They also have a number of other animals there, such as big lizards, snakes and some farm animals, so there really is something for everyone to enjoy.

eagleamy.jpgAG is especially entertaining and I’m so fascinated by her adventurous spirit in getting up close to the animals. She’s completely fearless when it comes to handling them and especially delights in the snakes and big lizards – much to mommy’s horror! We were super proud of her when she happily put the leather glove on her hand in the eagle owl enclosure and held up her arm for the owl to perch on. And then the huge smile on her face when he sat there eating his snack, is one I will treasure forever. HJ, on the other hand, is the total opposite – she’s fascinated by the animals, but firmly keeps her distance from most of them. She’ll occasionally touch one when prompted, but she’s happy to just observe most of the time.

The staff at Eagle Encounters are friendly and knowledgeable and very hands on with the animals, so if the girls are keen to see the snakes or lizards, inevitably one will be brought out its enclosure and we’re able to see it up close. The one time, the handler brought out the black eagle for us to see, and it was a real treat. He was huge and majestic, and it was amazing to get so close, especially when he stretched out his wings in front of us – which resulted in another grin of pure delight from AG. They also have demonstrations with different birds throughout the day, so it’s fun to catch one of these. There’s a little tip box at the exit, so if one of the staff has been especially helpful, please don’t forget to tip them!

We can highly recommend Eagle Encounters for a family outing, and it’s a great cause to support. You can also donate to their cause via their website and find them on Facebook.


Wonderful World of Birds

20160605_101347Our girls absolutely love all kinds of animals, especially birds. They always get so excited when they see a bird, pointing up and shouting “dirdie”. So we knew the World of Birds would be a hit, and we were absolutely right. I have never heard so many squeals of delight and exclamations of “wow”.

World of Birds is an interesting place. It’s a wildlife sanctuary for birds and other animals, including monkeys, buck and reptiles. There are some beautiful species of birds to see from all over the world. Some of them are in cages, while others are in open aviaries that you can walk through. They have a number of circular routes you can follow through the aviaries to see the different animals. There is also an open aviary where you can walk through and play with monkeys.

20160605_115440The monkeys definitely stole the show. At first the girls were a bit nervous of them as the monkeys are quite boisterous and jumped all over us. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous of the monkeys myself, thanks to a little traumatic experience of being chased by a group of monkeys as a child while on holiday in KZN. But once we all relaxed it was lots of fun to have the monkeys come sit on our lap and shoulders, and jump on our heads.

The girls just loved seeing all the birds and it was so lovely seeing the look of delight on their faces as we walked around. Both IP and I even felt a bit emotional seeing such happiness on our children’s faces. It was especially sweet that every time we walked out of one aviary into another AG would say “bye bye dirdies”.

Despite the fun, though, I really felt a bit conflicted while walking around there. The place is definitely in need of some TLC. It’s a bit run down and grotty in places and some of the cages and aviaries are definitely in need of a face lift. We’ve often heard rumours that it was even shutting down due to a lack of funding.

On the one hand they are doing fabulous work looking after some creatures that have been previously abused or neglected, but I also felt so sorry for some of the animals there, especially some of the primate species – there were a number of exotic monkeys from other parts of the world that just looked so depressed sitting in their enclosures. They’re animals that are supposed to be swinging free in the jungles of the Amazon or Borneo, not sitting locked up at the bottom tip of Africa.

All in all, though, it was a great family outing, and we will definitely go back to World of Birds soon. Despite my mixed feelings about the place, the girls had a wonderful time, and that was the most important thing. It will be especially nice to see the place in the summer.

You can find out more about World of Birds on their website.

Fantastic day cycling on the Promenade

We recently did something we’ve been wanting to do with the girls for ages – we went for a cycle on the Promenade with them. It was an absolute hit and between lots of giggles and squeals of delight, we know they had an absolute ball!

20160521_105039We hired bicycles from Up Cycles who have a couple of bike stations around the Atlantic Seaboard, including in Camps Bay and at the V&A Waterfront. We hired bikes from the station at the Pavilion on the Promenade and did a circular route up and down the coast heading towards the Waterfront.

There are a couple of options if wanting to cycle with kids – you can hire a bike with a little seat on the front for toddlers or they have these awesome little buggies that two kids can sit in that get pulled behind the bike. We chose the front seat option and the girls loved sitting up front and watching the world go by. To their delight they could reach out and hold the handlebars and often tried to steer – they both even got upset as they wanted to steer on their own.

If you think you get a lot of attention when out and about with twin toddlers, try cycling with them sitting with you on a bike along the Promenade – haha! Just about everyone looked twice as we went by and we attracted lots of stares and smiles. We had so much fun and loved sharing this adventure as a family.

It was such a gorgeous sunny autumn day with the sea sparkling on one side and Lion’s Head looking over us on the other. Lots of people were out and about enjoying the sunshine and it just reinforced for us what we love so much about our beautiful city. We have realised recently that there is so much more to enjoy in the Mother City now that we are parents, and we are making a concerted effort to take advantage of all the great things to do with kids in Cape Town. We are privileged to be able to enjoy such wonderful quality time with our children and this was just the first of many more adventures we look forward to having in the coming weeks and months.
You don’t need to be super fit to cycle on the Promenade as it’s a nice flat route along the coast, so it’s something the whole family can enjoy – granny and grampa too!

We will definitely be back for many more such outings and can highly recommend a cycle on the Promenade for anyone looking for a fun day out as a family.

Thanks Up Cycles for such a great service! If you’d like more info you can visit their Facebook page.