Is it cheating?

Some people will tell you that taking photographs of birds or animals in captivity is cheating. Well, yes, if you claim to have shot those images in the wild and you are trying to mislead people, but it is definitely not cheating if you are honest about where the photos were taken and it is also a great way to practice your photography.

Enter the Bird Gardens

As you walk into the gardens you will be greeted by a friendly African Grey Parrot, who loves posing for the camera.

African Grey at Montecasino Bird Gardens

There are a wide variety of birds, reptiles and other small animals that can be seen while you meander along the walkways of the Montecasino Bird Gardens.

Three Pelicans at Montecasino Bird Gardens

Practice makes perfect

The beauty of practicing in such an environment is that you can change lenses without worrying about the bird disappearing before you get a shot, you can try new techniques, experiment with camera settings and best of all, take your time to understand how to get what you want, creatively, out of your camera.

Photographer taking an image of a Macaw
Three Macaws sitting in a branch

Aside from the wide variety of different enclosures for different birds, there is also a section for spiders, amphibians and snakes.

Albino Python
Macaw hanging upside down on a branch

In the middle of the enclosures you will find an area that is home to cockatoos, macaws and a few other birds that provide plenty of fantastic photographic opportunities.

Scarlet Macaw
Eurasian Eagle Owl

One of the highlights at the Montecasino Bird Gardens is the large walk-through aviary that allows you get up close and personal with some of the birds. There is also an amphitheater that hosts multiple bird shows during the day. You will have the chance to practice photographing birds in flight while learning something new about different species.

Walk-through aviary at Montecasino
Photographers shooting Scarlet Macaw at Montecasino

If your shutter-button finger gets tired, you can pop into Café Flamingo for a light lunch and something to drink. Sit back in the shade and watch the flamingos that reside next door.

Address: Cnr William Nicol Drive & Montecasino Boulevard, Fourways, Johannesburg

Cost: R64 for Adults & Children over 10 years R36 for Pensioners & children under 10 years and R36 for Hotel Guests

Contact: 011 511 1864 OR or visit their website for more information.

Hot tip! If you are a Montecasino Rewards Programme member, you only pay R33 per ticket. The best part is that it’s free to join the Rewards Programme (at the counter in the casino).