Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary (Plettenberg Bay - Western Cape)
Afraid of or fascinated by reptiles?
Enjoy informative, interactive family tours at Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary
We were exploring the Garden Route when we decided to try something different from the ubiquitous and often crowded tourist attractions. Nestled in the forests of The Crags, and only 10 minutes’ drive before Plettenberg Bay, the Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary was just the right place to start our mini adventure.
Making our way to the entrance, we were warmly greeted by our guide who first took us on a tour of their crocodile enclosure. He also informed us that Lawnwood often assist with the rescue and rehabilitation of reptiles that might have wandered into households or onto farmlands in the area.
Afterwards, we were led to the indigenous snake pit and watched as our guide jumped into the pit to demonstrate how docile these serpents can be – without downplaying the potency of their venom and explained how to react if you encounter one in the wild.
Next, we got to hold a red-lipped herald and a brown house snake. It certainly was a surreal experience, as they felt cold but at the same time, as smooth as the purest silk.
Then we stopped at enclosures for the more venomous snakes. These included the boomslang, green mamba and its notoriously aggressive cousin, the black mamba, as well as various Cobra species found in Southern Africa. You would probably not want to encounter these characters anywhere else but at Lawnwood!
The next building, a big Dome, included some of the world’s most popular non-venomous snakes, to the more deadly serpents, such as rattle snakes, the King Cobra, coral snakes and the gaboon viper – ironically, probably the most beautiful snakes I have ever seen.
We were also introduced to Lawnwood’s two very tame rock monitors, Barney and Pixel, whom we could also stroke.
To conclude our very informative and entertaining adventure, we are led to an enormous python room that houses their 4-6 metre Pyhtons. They brought out a ‘smaller’ Burmese python for us to handle and photograph.
Our one hour tour had certainly been a worthwhile experience and taught us a lot about these too often feared and misunderstood creatures. If you are exploring the Garden Route, my advice is to include Lawnwood on your itinerary. They cater for all age groups and also have picnic sites, shady parking, a Coffee\Curios shop, farm animals, forest walks, play area for the kiddies and are wheel-chair friendly.
Find out more by calling 044534 8056 or visiting them just off the N2 in The Crags.
was a hot day during our visit to Plett when my eldest son and I decided to visit the Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary at The Crags. Like most of the local activities there, we’d driven past the sanctuary so many times before, but this time we were determined to see what it was all about.
Deon, who was to be our guide on our unannounced visit, met us at the front gate and immediately took us to the snake pit. “How many snakes can you see in here?” he asked, as our eyes scoured the grassy area, seemingly populated only by a few rocks, pieces of wood and the odd shrub. I couldn’t count any.
“Would you believe, thirty?” he answered. Amazed, we both looked on as he proceeded to point out and uncover harmless and dangerous specimens in the grass and hiding amongst the rocks, wood and bushes. All colours and varieties, from harmless mole snakes to poisonous puff adders!
We were soon joined by an enthusiastic couple from Johannesburg who asked many questions, to each of which Deon provided an informative answer, and took as many photographs. After the snake pit we moved to one of the nearby displays, this one housing the common house snake. To our surprise, the glass viewing panel was quickly slid away as Deon gently plucked the snake from its perch and handed it to my son. The ice was broken and we all had a chance to hold and photograph this harmless fellow.
This routine, with an educative commentary, was followed from display to display - unless it housed harmful specimens. We finally entered the cobra tent where we found some of the more dangerous varieties of snake, such as the boomslang, viper and, of course, cobra. We also met Fred, the 12 year old Rock Monitor, who was only too happy to let us scratch his back. If he’d been a cat, he’d have purred from all the attention!
The grand finale was seeing the awesome pythons and their rare, hybrid cousins. We even had a chance to hang an albino Burmese python over our shoulders and pose for one last photograph!
All in all, we spent the better part of two hours at Lawnwood and learnt a few interesting facts about these fascinating creatures. Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary offers an above average afternoon out as its hands-on experience is quite unique!