Hotel Review: Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth

The seaside town of Port Elizabeth was the ideal gateway since our first destination was 3 hours east and our planned day-trip to Birds of Eden was around 2 hours to the west going towards Cape Town.  Port Elizabeth is easy to get around and the roads are well-marked.  The Radisson Blu Hotel is in the seaside suburb of Summerstrand.  Just follow the signs, stay as close to the sea as possible when roads diverge and you can’t miss it!

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This hotel is a bargain for those who have the Club Carlson Visa, only 38k points for 2 nights!

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Like I said, you can’t miss it!IMG_3574 IMG_3165

Nice spacious lobbyIMG_3166

They have one of those annoying “open” bathrooms but at least there is a shade for those who prefer privacy.  I must say I would have preferred the bathroom be completely enclosed, I’m not a fan of those open bathrooms.  Beds are comfy with a nice assortment of pillows.IMG_3171 IMG_3168 IMG_3167

There’s a tv and work desk with a view of the sea.  Internet connection was pretty good.  There is also secure free parking.IMG_3169 IMG_3170Overall, this hotel was a good option for us as we used our points.  If we didn’t have points, we probably would have spent the night in a town closer to Birds of Eden to save a long drive but we had to spend at least one night in Port Elizabeth any way to catch an early flight to JNB.  The breakfast was not included for a points stay and the restaurant didn’t have anything of interest so we went the cheapie route and bought food at the supermarket next door.

Eco-Lite: Birds Of Eden Revisted – Part 2

Continuing on from yesterday, we pick up the virtual stroll through the Birds of Eden walk-in aviary at the first pond where you can see Scarlet Ibises and other water birds, then past the grassy area to the main pond and the area surrounding the Jandaya Cafe.  Sadly, the Jandaya Cafe is now screened in and the birds no longer are able to join you for lunch.  The food was good though!

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(Don’t look if you are under 18!)IMG_3285 IMG_3288 IMG_3294 IMG_3295 IMG_3298 IMG_3283 IMG_3300 IMG_3302 IMG_3308 IMG_3315 IMG_3535 IMG_3538 IMG_3311 IMG_3323 IMG_3324 IMG_3328 IMG_3331 IMG_3341 IMG_3343 IMG_3344 IMG_3345 IMG_3347 IMG_3349 IMG_3351 IMG_3354 IMG_3355 IMG_3356 IMG_3362 IMG_3359 IMG_3358 IMG_3368 IMG_3541 IMG_3567 IMG_3566 IMG_3370 IMG_3353 IMG_3357 IMG_3367 IMG_3371 IMG_3554 IMG_3562

 

Birds wondering why they can’t get into the cafe.  Maybe because they don’t have credit cards?IMG_3561 IMG_3539 IMG_3542 IMG_3543 IMG_3544 IMG_3546 IMG_3547 IMG_3548 IMG_3549 IMG_3551 IMG_3553 IMG_3557 IMG_3564 IMG_3373 IMG_3375 IMG_3376 IMG_3378 IMG_3380 IMG_3381 IMG_3382 IMG_3374

 

Eco-Lite: Birds Of Eden Revisted – Part 1

A little over a year ago, I shared some pics of the many gorgeous birds you can see flying freely in the huge Birds of Eden walk-in aviary and details of how you can visit them.  If you are using miles, Port Elizabeth makes a great gateway city as you can easily get award flights there and redeem hotel points for free stays as I wrote in my main Port Elizabeth blog post.

Just last month, we got to revisit this awesome bird park and spend the whole day there.  Since today is Boxing Day in Australia and tomorrow will also be a busy post-Christmas day, I will hold off on travel posts and simply enthrall you with some photos of beautiful birds!

I have WAY too many photos and not time to caption them so just relax and enjoy them!

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In this part, I will show you the forest walkways and the birds that you can see there.  Tomorrow, I will show you the Jandaya Cafe area, the ponds and the birds in those areas.IMG_3182 IMG_3569IMG_3187 IMG_3186 IMG_3190 IMG_3192 IMG_3193 IMG_3196 IMG_3199 IMG_3200 IMG_3202 IMG_3205 IMG_3207 IMG_3208 IMG_3210 IMG_3212 IMG_3213 IMG_3214 IMG_3216 IMG_3218 IMG_3223 IMG_3228 IMG_3230 IMG_3233 IMG_3240 IMG_3241 IMG_3243 IMG_3246 IMG_3249 IMG_3255 IMG_3257 IMG_3259 IMG_3262 IMG_3266 IMG_3270 IMG_3386 IMG_3390 IMG_3392 IMG_3394 IMG_3398 IMG_3399 IMG_3400 IMG_3401 IMG_3402 IMG_3403 IMG_3411 IMG_3424 IMG_3427 IMG_3430 IMG_3431 IMG_3435 IMG_3438 IMG_3442 IMG_3443 IMG_3446 IMG_3452 IMG_3453 IMG_3460 IMG_3461 IMG_3464 IMG_3469 IMG_3470 IMG_3471 IMG_3479 IMG_3480 IMG_3481 IMG_3490 IMG_3496 IMG_3498 IMG_3503 IMG_3506 IMG_3508 IMG_3512 IMG_3515 IMG_3519 IMG_3520 IMG_3526 IMG_3530

 

Eco-Lite: Birds Of Eden, South Africa

BIRDS OF EDEN IS THE GARDEN ROUTE’S VERY OWN WORLD CLASS FREE FLIGHT BIRD SANCTUARY *

This is the most amazing walk-in aviary I have ever seen, I can’t even find the words to describe it!  Heaven on earth doesn’t do it justice.  I could have easily moved in here and pitched a tent!  Hundreds of birds fly freely in this man-made rainforest environment free from predators and fear of any kind.  What struck me most was how well the various species get along and I watched in amazement as turacos and conures shared fruit side by side.

The unique two hectare dome (the World’s largest) spans over a gorge of indigenous forest. The sanctuary has its own mysterious ruin, which incorporates a walk-behind waterfall. Another feature is its amphitheatre, which has the ability to seat over 200 visitors. Like Monkeyland, the popular primate sanctuary next-door, Birds of Eden boasts its own canopy walk, while shorter than the 128m bridge at Monkeyland, it hangs above the clouds. The decision to develop Birds of Eden stems from the need to create a safe environment in which to release a large collection of free-flight African birds, miniature monkeys and the sanctuary also enables bird owners to apply to release their pet birds into the sanctuary, after undergoing rehabilitation.

Birds of Eden can be reached by car from either Cape Town (long drive) or Port Elizabeth.  You can get to South Africa using airline miles.

BIRDS OF EDEN FACT SHEET

1. The area of the bird park is 2,3 hectare (23,000sq meters).

2. The structure comprises 27 masts of varying heights, between 34 meters and 2 meters.

3. While the tallest mast is only 34 meters high, the highest point of the dome above the ground is
50m as the canyon breaks away.

4. The masts are linked by a series of cables which are anchored to specially constructed
underground “plugs”, there are several 100 kilometres of cable used to create a grid of cable onto which, the bird mesh will rest.

5. The bird mesh has an area of 3,2 hectares and weighs 80 tonnes.

6 The sanctuary is the biggest single free flight aviary in the World.

7. Birds of Eden opened the 15th of December 2005 and can be contacted on info@birdsofeden.co.za

8. There are several special features about Birds of Eden;

• There is a walk behind waterfall

• The birds are in free flight – there are no cages.

• There is an amphitheatre, which can seat 200 people.

• The sanctuary is wheelchair friendly.

• There are 1,2kms of walkways of which 900m is elevated.

• 70% of the area of the dome encapsulates pristine indigenous forest.

• The main dam is bustling with koi fish.

• Birds of Eden incorporates several dams, the largest has an island lunch-deck with plenty of seating – light meals are served here.

• The snack bar and restaurant in Birds of Eden are both outsourced and comprises of 4 options for seating,

1) in the forest at the snack bar,
2) outside the forest near the snack bar
3) On the lunch-deck at the main dam
4) on the bank of the main dam.

• There are approximately 3,000 birds in the aviary, comprising over 220 species, note that these numbers increase constantly.

• The masts is made of wire mesh. It is painted green for a more natural ‘look’. 10 tons of paint (10,000 litres) was required to complete this paint job.

• The river running over the waterfall and through the length of the bird park (200m) is pumped back in a closed system. There is therefore no pollution of any water sources in the sanctuary.

For more information about Birds of Eden and details on how to get there, please visit their website.

* Originally published on our parent website Feathered And Free.

Join me on a wander through the magnificent Birds of Eden and enjoy my photos of these wonderful birds!

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Do plan on having a meal here but don’t be surprised if the birds invite themselves to your lunch!  It’s all part of the fun!

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Gateway: Port Elizabeth, South Africa

GETTING THERE

Port Elizabeth  is South Africa’s fifth largest city and is located on the Indian Ocean coast half-way between Cape Town and Durban, in the Eastern Cape, about 260 km from Knysna.  It can be easily reached using Star Alliance miles on South African Airways or One World miles on British Airways. Using Avios is a good deal here as the JNB-PLZ route is 564 miles so only costs 4500 Avios one way.  Using United Mileage Plus would require 12,500 miles for the same route.  You may be able to get a good price using an online travel agent such as Expedia too.

WHERE TO STAY ON POINTS

Port Elizabeth is a pleasant city at the end of the Garden Route but for eco-tourists it will just be a jumping off point to nearby game reserves and the Hogsback region further east which has one of the subspecies of Cape Parrot which I will cover in a separate post.  You won’t want to stay here long, maybe a day or two if you make the day trip to Birds of Eden (separate blog post) in Plettenburg Bay.

Club Carlson:  Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth costs 38,000 points per night, with a BOGO if you have the credit card.

I wouldn’t worry too much about hotel points here as there are plenty of guest houses and hotels under $75 including these two.

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If your flight lands early enough, you may just want to pick up a rental car and head off straight away.  Warning, automatic cars are quite a bit more expensive than manuals.  In my example, there were manual cars starting from $46 a day.