Where birds roam

Although there are fierce creatures in cages somewhere on one side of the park—where I refuse to go, so I don’t see said creatures even without meaning to—the place is called the Montecasino Bird Gardens because it is a haven for birds. It is a lovely haven at that.


According to Montecasino’s website, the Bird and Wildlife Park is open every day except on Christmas Day. Below are other relevant details from the site:

Tariffs

  • Under the age of 2 years – Free
  • Children (2 – 12 years) – R55
  • Adults (13 – 59 years) – R80
  • Pensioners (60 years and over) – R55
  • Hotel Guests (Palazzo, Southern Sun Montecasino and SunSquare Montecasino) – entrance is free with a valid guest registration card

Opening Hours:

  • Mondays to Friday: 08h30 – 17h00
  • Weekends and Public Holidays: 08h30 – 17h00

Flight of Fantasy Shows:

  • Weekdays: 11h00 and 15h00
  • Weekends and Public Holidays: 11h00, 13h00 and 15h00

Contact Details:

Telephone: +27 11 511 1864
Email: education@montebg.co.za


We have visited the place a number of times as it is around the corner from home. I have been planning to write a blog about it for months, perhaps even a year or so, but I always found an excuse to procrastinate. A couple of weekends ago, my son changed his old Huawei P20 Pro for the new P30. I also recently replaced my Samsung Galaxy Note8 with the Note10+. He thought we should take some pictures to prove which phone is better than my phone, for images and videos. I don’t have his images and videos from his P30 Pro but I have mine from my Note10+ and they are rather fantastic.

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We have a model for the day: my little princess. She adds to the beauty of the bird gardens, I’d say. 🙂

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Entrance to the park / Ticket office on the right

Upon entering, right in the middle is a little GPS for first-time visitors.

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Flamingo Cafe is conveniently located near the entrance-exit. As you enter, it it on the left-hand side. If we have time before the Flight of Fantasy show (the bird show), we would grab something to drink and nibble on.

NOTE: Food and drinks (eating and drinking) are not allowed in the amphitheater during the show.

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If we are hungry on our way out, we would sit down for a light meal and drinks. Our model, my little princess gets to play a bit more. Children do enjoy the play area.

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On the right-hand side, upon entering the park, is the way to the amphitheater.

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The park has a good-size amphitheater for the bird shows. We always watch the shows. The show has a few variations here and there so we enjoy it each time we watch. At worst, it is our break from the walk.

Warning: Do not pay attention to the sign about the prams. At the start of the show, visitors are told to keep the prams near them in the seating area.

I know, it is strange. And there I was thinking we were just being who we are in Africa, ignoring signs and instructions.

As we were early for the show, but not early enough to roam the park with its inhabitants, we took the obligatory selfies. *lol*

Here are some photographs and videos from the Flight of Fantasy Show:

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I am sorry about this 6-second video. I was distracted and I only got to capture the last bit of the flight.

Aaron and Max had a little stage fright and only came out about thirty seconds later. Aren’t they beautiful?

Royalty comes out next, but in his true royal style, he rushed back in, away from the paparazzi.

This is Ed, a burrowing owl.

I did not include his entrance as I did not zoom in and there wasn’t much to see.

Here’s a little show… (I can’t get the bird’s name. I hear Xavier but a “she”…)

Mika (sp) shows us how he catches his food.

I like this owl. She is a predator.

The show lasts about fifteen minutes, I think. It might be longer, but it can’t be more than thirty minutes.

We then headed out to the ducks. My daughter likes to feed them. Duck food can be purchased the ticket office where you pay for the entrance to the bird gardens.

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We found this bench and my young model posed for a picture.
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Then, off we went…

While feeding the swimming ducks, one walking around on land found us and I had to take several pictures as it wouldn’t leave. She also wanted to be our model.

There was even a chase. Jeslyn managed to run away from her and she gave up.

The chasing duck didn’t completely take our attention away from her friends and relatives. Before the chase to the other side of the pond, I was able to take some pictures without her (the fun naughty ducky).

I love the whole Italian-inspired Montecasino entertainment complex, so although I have many pictures of the old-looking buildings and walls, I keep taking more of them.

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I found another opportunity to include myself in the pictures. 🙂

Having lost the naughty ducky, Jeslyn went back to work. *lol* Her dress was perfect for the background. We like purple. Lavender?

It only looks like it is empty but it isn’t. I take advantage of these moments. It is a lovely place. This is side of the park where the meerkats are. I had my back on them.

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Here are the cute meerkats.

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With the route we take, after the meerkats are the fierce creatures. She wanted to go and I refused. She always asks and she gets the same answer all the time: no. When we go with other people who don’t mind them, she gets to walk through this area. Strangely, she isn’t scared of them, but she screams and runs from Christmas beetle and moths.

We managed to convince her to be where it is pretty.

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Then, we proceeded to my favorite place in the park. I love colors, and therefore, the orange birds. The white birds, too. (Sorry, I am terrible at names of species. I should take notes.)

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Pretty, right?

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This part of the aviary is also where the waterfalls is. The sound of water is calming and I even forget that the fierce creatures are not far away from where we are. You will actually see the end cages as you climbed up and out of here.

Ignoring the right side, I focus on looking for King Julian (from Madagascar). 🙂 Jeslyn is scared of this cutie. She is a weird.

After failing to hide and run away from us, we stopped to chat with him.

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It was short-lived. He ran off and guarded the gate out of the enclosure.

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Moments like this make the visit more fun.

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We are back out in the open where the gorgeous parrots (cockatoos?) hang out. (I need to take pictures of the signs so I know what they are. *lol*)

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Nearing the exit, we found another chance to see which phone takes better photographs. Although I am not a flowers person, I think they are lovely and I like to take pictures of them.

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It was a windy day.

I still got to capture (images) of these magnificent-looking birds.

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As we almost always do, we pay this old thing a visit on our way out. Today, he was joined by a feathered friend.

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And, that’s it!

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We left the park and were off to Fego Caffe for some sustenance. We needed a bit more than what Flamingo Cafe could offer and the park was closing anyway.

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I might agree that my son’s photographs and videos are better than mine not necessarily because the Huawei P30 Pro is better than the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ but because he was actually adjusting settings and zooms as he was taking the pictures and videos and I used, as I always do, my phone camera as a point-and-shoot. So, considering my photography skills, or lack thereof, more appropriately, the new Note10+ does well.


The following slideshow has pictures taken from visits in April and September this year. I had the Samsung Galaxy Note8.

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I do think the Montecasino Bird Gardens is worth a visit if in Johannesburg. You get to be close to nature and enjoy the sight of some beautiful creatures (not the fierce ones) while in the city.

Then, you can proceed to Montecasino where you might find that it’s not easy to decide where to eat. You can also go to the casino and see if you have luck on your side. For more entertainment, there are thirteen cinemas for some Hollywood, Bollywood and local movies, and three theaters for live shows and performances.

My family and I may seem boring as we don’t really go anywhere else but it’s really not a wonder. We have almost everything in our neighborhood and Montecasino has the best security, as far as I am concerned. Security is of utmost importance. The Palazzo Hotel, which is a favorite of mine, is here, too. The service at the Palazzo is truly 5-star. And, it’s pretty.

3 thoughts on “Where birds roam

    1. It’s actually a small-ish place. You can only stay here for an hour or two, if chilling at the cafe.

      Why didn’t Ratanga Junction make it? Gold Reef City is still going strong. I think that apart from the rides, Gold Reef has the history that keeps it alive.

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  1. I like the venue. In this case, I think the more intimate size of the facility is a plus… a chance to see the wildlife close up.

    There was a similar bird show at the much larger, and now gone “Marine World/Africa USA” in Valejo, near San Francisco. “Six Flags Marine World” now occupies the location, and I think it’s become more of a thrill-ride park for teenagers. Too bad. I liked the old wildlife better. 😉

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