A Bird In The Hand… Literally!

A tour operator, Gilda Swanepoel  who runs specialised and bespoke tours of South Africa, got to experience something heartwarming and unique recently.  A determined little birdie took a shine to her while she was taking some overseas tourists on a walkabout in Joburg’s innercity.

The tiny creature, named ‘Jozi’ by Swanepoel hopped up onto her hand, and then refused to budge. So Swanepoel did the only thing she could. She took the bird, named ‘Jozi’ by a tour guest, along on the tour, for coffee, and a ride in her car to the suburbs, where Jozi took off in flight.


She recounts her magical experience:

“We were supposed to do Fordsburg Street Food, Art and History yesterday.  Usually I meet my guests in Newtown, and we walk to Fordsburg from there.  This time we couldn’t due to the shut down because of protests in the city.  I then decided to show my tour guests, who were Cameroonian, Swiss and Canadian, around Newtown Junction instead.

I first saw a little bird under {the highway] around the street art ‘graffiti gallery’ in Newtown. It was just sitting on the ground and looked unhappy. When I approached it, it  flew up and hopped into  my hand. It was completely calm with me and refused to let go or fly – every time I tried, it would hold onto me for dear life. It didn’t like other people touching it and started screaming if they did!

After the graffiti walkabout we went for Coffee at Craft Coffee. Here another friendly animal, this time a dog, approached me, happy to meet Jozi too!

I also used a coffee cup to make him a little perch, as he was pooing, and my hand was getting tired. He also drank some water from a teaspoon!

When we got to Newtown Junction, we were stopped by the security guard, who pointed to a sign saying, ‘No Pets’. I laughed and asked the guard if the birdie looked like a pet to him, and what danger it posed. I said he should look at the bigger picture. He relented and laughed, letting us in with a smile. Needless to say we got many reactions!

We visited the Newtown Workshop where he met some of the traders, and the well known ‘Prince of Newtown’ and Neo from I Run JHB. Again I tried to release the little creature, but Jozi refused to leave my hand.

After the tour, Jozi actually got into the car with me to Melville (a suburb of Joburg), sitting quietly on his cup during the ride.

When we got out at Melville, Jozi sat on his cup in my hand for a while. There was a massive green tree in front of us, and just like that he left and flew high up into the tree! Such a happy moment!”

This is not the first time a bird has taken a liking to Swanepoel. She was at Sterkfontein when a wild bird befriended her. But that’s a story for another time!

Gilda Swanepoel runs Eenblond Tours for special, bespoke tours of South Africa.

For more info contact her on:


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Gabrielle Ozynski
Managing Editor I oversee the production of the magazine, as well as sub on the mag and write stories for our digitaI platforms. I am passionate about the worlds of entertainment and media, photography, human interest stories, animal causes and doing community work. I love bringing together my personal passions together for both print and digital media to bring our readers and followers informative, interesting and entertaining content. My interests and hobbies include yoga, gardening, creative crafts, photography, travel, community work and I love spending time with family and friends.